JERUSALEM (Jan. 6)
The Labor Party had an unpleasant surprise today when Shmuel Toledano, a Laborite for 34 years and, for nearly 12 years, the Prime Minister’s advisor on Arab affairs, announced he was quitting the party to join Prof. Yigal Yadin’s new Democratic Movement for Change.
Toledano said he would explain the reasons for his move when he submits his formal resignation to Premier Yitzhak Rabin. Party circles are aware, however, that his relations with Rabin had deteriorated and that the Premier was relying increasingly on Amos Eran. Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office, for counseling on Arab affairs.
Nevertheless. Toledano’s unexpected announcement caught the Labor Party and the Prime Minister’s Office unaware. It represented a political blow because Toledano was not just a civil servant but an active member of the Labor Party’s Central Committee and Jerusalem branch. Moreover, he is not simply leaving Labor after three-and-a-half decades but is joining a new political movement that is expected to capture a significant number of votes from Labor in the May elections.
SOME REASONS FOR MOVE
According to some sources, Toledano was dissatisfied with the progress of his career. Rumored, appointments, including directorship of the Housing Ministry or an Ambassadorial post failed to materialize. Toledano felt he had nothing to lose by quitting Labor, the sources said. On the other hand, he has no guarantee that his political career will be advanced in Yadin’s movement. The latter has promised to make up its Knesset elections list by secret ballot and Toledano, a late-comer, may not get on it. Furthermore, there is no way of knowing how many Knesset seats, if any. Yadin’s party will get although a recent poll gave it 18.
Toledano has been offered a job as a contributor to a leading daily on Arab-Israeli relations. He is due to lecture at Harvard University in March and will receive an award for his contributions to Arab-Jewish understanding.