JERUSALEM (Jun. 14)
The Cabinet decided by a majority vote yesterday to require all coalition party members to vote against a bill coming up in the Knesset this week that would empower the Prime Minister to fire a Cabinet minister. Only four ministers, Premier Yitzhak Rabin among them, voted in favor of allowing a “free vote” to coalition Knesset-members and ministers.
The measure, to be introduced by Shulamit Aloni, leader of the Civil Rights faction in the Knesset, is doomed to defeat, barring a wholesale rebellion in coalition ranks which is hardly likely. Her bill would enable the Premier to demand a letter of resignation from any of his ministers. If it was not forthcoming within 48 hours, the Premier could dismiss the minister. Rabin had said at a recent press conference that he wished he had the power to fire ministers–a remark that Defense Minister Shimon Peres took to be aimed at himself. Peres was one of the majority of ministers who voted to exercise coalition discipline. Rabin was supported only by Education Minister Aharon Yadlin, Police Minister Shlomo Hillel and Minister-Without-Portfolio Israel Galili. The majority position was favored by the ministers of the smaller coalition factions–Mapam, National Religious Party and Independent Liberal Party.