Speculation That Rabin Government May Be Seeking to Broaden Its Base by Wooing Ultra-orthodox Factio

The large turnout of Labor Party ministers at the opening of the Poalei Aguda Israel national convention here Monday night has aroused speculation that the Rabin government may be seeking to broaden its political base by wooing the ultra-Orthodox splinter faction.

Justice Minister Haim Zadok, delivering the government’s greetings to the convention, remarked that “we’ve always seen you as a natural coalition partner.” Acting Premier Yigal Allon and several other Labor Ministers said nothing, but appeared to approve Zadok’s implied invitation.

The Poalei Aguda, with two Knesset seats and the Aguda Israel with three seats, comprise the so called “Torah bloc” in the Knesset, a faction well to the right of the National Religious Party and uncompromising in its religious zealotry. Were the Poalei Aguda to enter the coalition, the “Torah bloc” would be broken. The faction served in several coalition governments in the 1950s and 1960s after the Aguda seceded over the issue of army service for women.

At the convention opening, veteran Poalei Aguda leader. Kalman Kahane, rebuked the new chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Rabbi Alexander Schindler, a Reform rabbi, because of his statement last month in Jerusalem that the Presidents Conference would not automatically accept policy lines dictated by Israel. Kahane also bewailed the decline of religious values in Israel.

NEXT STORY