JERUSALEM (Aug. 18)
The name of Yosef Almogi, Mayor of Haifa, former Cabinet minister, one-time dockworkers’ leader and Labor Party strongman in the Haifa region, surfaced among political circles this week as a possible successor to Pinhas Sapir, chairman of the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization Executives who died last week. Almogi himself, It is reliably learned, is partial to the idea and the persons circulating his name are believed to be close to him.
The name of Almogi has been mentioned on the assumption that neither Abba Eban nor Moshe Dayan–also named as possible Laborite candidates–are interested in the post. Eban made it clear in private conversations today that he was indeed not interested in it. He saw it as an implied removal from active Israeli politics, whereas he has no intention of removing himself from that arena at this stage.
Almogi has enjoyed a string of recent successes in speaking tours in the U.S. for the United Jewish Appeal and the Israel Bond Organization. His English is not perfect, but he is a particularly effective orator in Yiddish.
SOME LABOR CIRCLES PREFER DULZIN
Political circles are assuming, though, that Leon Dulzin, the Jewish Agency acting chairman and a leader of the Liberal Party, will fight tenaciously for the post of chairman, Dulzin, these circles recalled, fully intended to contest the post last time, when the Labor Party sought to put up Avraham Harman, Hebrew University president and a former Ambassador to Washington, against him. In the end, he stepped down in deference to Sapir’s personality and political power when the late Labor Party strongman indicated that he wished to retire from the government and take over the Agency.
Some Labor Party circles suggested today that the party might indeed do well to surrender the WZO/Agency chairmanship to Dulzin, who is widely acknowledged to be an able and efficient administrator and well-liked among Jewish communities abroad. These circles point out that it has for some time now been Labor’s latent wish to drive a wedge between the Herut and Liberal wings of Likud–with the eventual aim of attracting the Liberals into the coalition.
Endorsing Dulzin’s candidacy–or at least not opposing it–these circles suggest, would be a constructive step in initiating a rapprochement between Labor and the Likud liberals.