Knesset Expected to Approve Sinai Pact with Comfortable Margin

The Knesset is expected to approve the new Sinai agreement with Egypt by a comfortable margin when it meets — probably on Wednesday. But Labor Party leaders are taking no chances and Party whip Moshe Wertman warned today that the severest disciplinary action would be taken against any Alignment MK who defied Party wishes and voted against the pact.

As of today, 66 MKs were expected to vote in favor of the interim agreement against 44 opposed. The pact’s supporters include 50 members of the Labor Alignment; among other coalition parties, eight National Religious Party MKs and three of the Independent Liberal Party are known to support the pact. The government can also depend on support from at least part of the opposition Aguda bloc, the Yaad faction, probably Meir Payil’s one-man Moked faction, and Dr. Binyamin Halevy, a former Likud member who is now an independent MK.

The 38 Likud MKs are expected to form the core of the opposition, supported by the two leaders of the NRP’s “Young Guard” Yehuda Ben Meir and Zevulun Hammer. Two members of Labor’s former Rafi faction, Moshe Dayan and Mordechai Ben Porat, are also expected to cast negative votes as are Hillel Zeidel of the ILP and one or two members of the Aguda bloc.

Wertman hinted today that if Dayan and Ben Porat violated Party discipline they should be ousted from the Party. Former Defense Minister Dayan still commands a considerable following in Rafi ranks and it is still unclear how many of them will vote. Except for the doveish Mordechai Navon, none of the Rafi MKs are known to be supporters of the pact.

Dayan, whose position has been ambiguous from the start, announced in an interview published in Yediot Achronot today that he would vote against the pending agreement because he believes it would weaken Israel militarily and politically, limiting its bargaining leverage with the Arabs and increasing its dependency on the United States. Dayan promised to state his views in detail when the Labor Party meets tomorrow on the pact.

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