TEL AVIV (Jan. 23)
Premier Yitzhak Rabin, whose ministerial duties leave him little time for party activities, has been called upon urgently to try to prevent the Labor Party from disintegrating into its three original factions. The Party was formed in 1968 by the merger of Mapai, Achdut Ha’avoda and Rafi which agreed to submerge their individual identities for the sake of a united Labor Party.
Now the factions seem to be coming unglued. Veteran leaders of Mapai, once the dominant element in Labor, have warned the Premier that the other two factions show signs of regrouping under their old banners, Rabin has reportedly agreed to make every effort to prevent such a development which he and his colleagues believe could only lead to a three-way confrontation and a split in Labor ranks.
Rabin is said to be trying to recruit Haifa Mayor Joseph Almogi, the former Minister of Labor, to head up a new unity group within the Labor Party. Almogi is a strong believer that all traces of the former factions should be eliminated.
RAFI MAY BE FIRST TO BOLT
The former Rafi faction, which still regards former Defense Minister Moshe Dayan as its leader, may be the first to try to break away from Labor Party ranks. A Mapai member reportedly overheard a telephone conversation between two Rafi’ites recently, the gist of which was that Rafi would re-group behind Dayan whose political fortunes may be revived when the Agranat Committee submits its final report on the Yom Kippur War.
According to unconfirmed reports, the Agranat findings will absolve Dayan of any responsibility for Israel’s military setbacks in the early stages of the war. In that event, a Dayan-led faction within the Labor Party might pose a serious challenge to the moderate policies of the Rabin government. The Agranat report is expected to be presented to the Cabinet within the next two weeks.