JERUSALEM (Jan. 10)
The National Religious Party is trying to convince Labor and Likud to come together in an all-embracing “emergency coalition” government but so far its efforts have been fruitless. NRP leader Yosef Burg met with Likud leader Menachem Beigin for 40 minutes in Tel Aviv this morning. Both told reporters afterwards that they supported a national coalition, one of Likud’s main election campaign slogans.
But other Likud sources indicated that the party may have could toward the idea. They noted that since Premier Golda Meir’s Labor Alignment is opposed to a broad coalition, Likud cannot make any substantial, proposals, Burg also met with Finance Minister Pinhas Sapir, the Labor Party’s chief spokesman on coalition matters and was told flatly that a broad-based government that would include Likud was out of the question.
Sapir maintained that it would paralyze efforts to reach an agreement at the Geneva conference, That apparently is Labor’s last word on the subject The NRP has made the establishment of a broad coalition a condition for its joining a Labor-led government
But the religious party has not given any ultimatums, apparently because it realizes that the Labor Alignment is adamantly opposed. Never the less, Dr. Burg went through the motions at his meetings today, if only to satisfy the party’s young guard which is insisting on a national coalition for its joining a Labor-led government. Should the NRP balk at joining a Lab or government without Likud, the way was opened yesterday for Premier Meir’s party to form a working coalition without the religious bloc.
The Independent Liberals and Shulamit Aloni’s Civil Rights list agreed to form a parliamentary bloc. Their seven Knesset seats combined with three Labor-aligned Arab seats would give Labor a precarious 61-seat majority in the 120-member Knesset. The Moked list which won a single seat in the new Knesset, announced today that it would support such a coalition on many issues. But the margin would still be much too narrow for Labor’s comfort and the consensus here is that when the new government is eventually established, it will resemble closely the Labor-NRP-ILP coalition of the old one.