JERUSALEM (Mar. 5)
After long weeks of political horse trading, the general atmosphere in the Israeli street is that Labor leaders have gone a little too far in their efforts to create a minority government headed by Golda Meir. While nobody expected coalition talks to be completed much faster than the two months which have passed by now, it seems that most of the public did not approve of the main obstacles put in the way to a new coalition–that is the “Who is a Jew” difficulties, Rafi’s hardened stand, Mrs. Meir’s announcement she would not form the new Cabinet, and finally–the panic that grabbed the Labor Party with her announcement.
These events have demonstrated perhaps more than at any other time in the past the wide gap between the people and the way the parties function. While there is a clear demand by the public for a fast formation of a, new Cabinet, the parties are seen as busy dealing with questions that do not relate to the most important issues facing Israel today. Both Defense Minister Moshe Dayan’s announcement that he would not join the next Cabinet and Mrs. Meir’s announcement that she was not going to form it were received with surprise–but not necessarily with the dismay or anguish which would have been the case before the war.
The months of public criticism of the present leadership have conditioned an atmosphere in which the public is actually ready for a different leadership. People such as Yitzhak Rabin and Aharon Yariv emerge as the prospective future leaders of the State, and the present crisis is interpreted more as the struggle of one group of leaders to remain in its place rather than a legitimate attempt to form a new government.
In a random television poll people were asked how they felt the crisis should be solved. Most said the best solution would be the formation of a national unity government. Some preferred new elections, and only self-admitted veteran Laborites said that Mrs. Meir should return by all means. (By Gil Sedan)