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Mrs. Meir Agrees to Participate Actively in Labor Party Affairs

Former Premier Golda Meir has agreed to participate actively in the affairs of the Labor Party, a role she gave up when she retired from the Premiership in 1974. Mrs. Meir, who is immensely popular with many Israelis in and out of Labor ranks, will be a member of a new Labor Party leadership forum to be headed by Premier Yitzhak Rabin. It will attempt to unravel the serious financial and ideological problems that are presently threatening the unity of Israel’s governing political faction.

Mrs. Meir gave her assent to a group of party leaders who visited her Tel Aviv home last week. They included Rabin, Finance Minister Yehoshua Rabinowitz and two of Meir’s oldest friends and political associates, Minister-Without-Portfolio Israel Galili and former Agriculture Minister Chaim Gvati. Also present was Labor Party secretary general Meir Zarmi who submitted his resignation last month but is being urged to reconsider.

The projected leadership forum is intended to solve many of the difficulties that prompted Zarmi to resign. Chief among these are the party’s poor financial condition and the situation–alleged by Zarmi and others–in which a small group of Cabinet ministers by-pass the party’s legally constituted bodies in the decision-making process.

FACTIONS WILL BE REPRESENTED

The leadership forum will bring together top representatives of the various factions that comprise the Labor Party. The Premier, Rabinowitz and Justice Minister Haim Zadok represent Mapai which in years past was Mrs. Meir’s political platform. Either Galili or Foreign Minister Yigal Allon will participate in behalf of the Achdut Avoda faction, and Defense Minister Shimon Peres for Labor’s Rafi wing.

Other members of the forum will be former Labor Minister Yosef Almogi, presently chairman of the World Zionist Organization and Jewish Agency Executives, and Yeruham Meshel, secretary general of Histadrut. Zarmi will be included if he withdraws his resignation. Some observers say this is highly probable in view of the new development.

Mrs. Meir’s agreement to serve is considered by many to be the most important feature of the new leadership forum. Although she is one of the oldest and most familiar figures on Israel’s political scene, she is not associated with the events of the past two years that have led to the near breakdown of the Labor Party and in that respect represents a “new face.”

Rabin was reported to be greatly relieved when Mrs. Meir agreed to participate in the party forum. “I am glad that Golda is coming back to active work,” the Premier said after the meeting with her. Mrs. Meir is also expected to return to the Labor party Bureau which she left on her retirement.

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