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Parties Jockeying for Position As Election Campaign Heats Up

Maneuverings between the various political parties continued today in preparation for the May 17 national election. In the latest efforts to unite the various political factions it was learned that the negotiations between Yigal Yadin’s Democratic Movement for Change and Shmuel Tamir’s Free Center group have broken off.

Meanwhile, Yadin’s movement has come under fire from various sides. It was criticized for newspaper advertisements which contained personal attacks on Labor Party leaders. Yadin, who said he had no knowledge of the ads apologized. On Friday, Israel Radio reported that 15 Knesset members, mainly from the Liberal Party and the Independent Liberal Party are joining Yadin’s movement. This proved to be incorrect and the radio management is trying to find out who initiated that report.

The Liberal Party, a constituent of Likud, is considering changing its campaign slogan from “No New Partition of the Land of Israel” to “There Is Room For Only Two States Between the Sea and the Desert–a Jewish Israel and Arab Palestine and the Border Between Them Shall be the Jordan River.” This was proposed by party leader Simcha Ehrlich. The Liberals have also called upon their Likud partner. Herut, to support electoral reforms.

The Gush Emunim movement has announced that it will not enter its own election list but will campaign actively for any party that supports its position of “not one inch” of territorial compromise. Leaders of the mainly Orthodox, militant nationalist group told a press conference last week that they planned a nationwide campaign to awaken the public to what they called the dangers of any territorial concessions by Israel. They said they would do this by rallies and parades aimed at preserving the “greater Israel,” meaning Israel plus all of the occupied territories.

In another development, Gen. Ariel Sharon announced he is moving the headquarters of his Shlomzion movement from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

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