TEL AVIV (Jun. 15)
The Democratic Movement for Change (DMC) will play an independent role in the Knesset and will not form an opposition bloc with the Labor Alignment, it was learned today. The party headed by Prof. Yigael Yadin overwhelmingly rejected participation in a Likud-led coalition government under present conditions but it is wary of too close an association with Labor which it had challenged vigorously in the election campaign, DMC sources indicated.
They noted that there were substantial areas of agreement between the DMC and Likud on domestic, social and economic problems. The coalition talks foundered on fundamental differences over territorial compromise and the approach to peace with the Arabs. Accordingly, the DMC is expected to support certain domestic measures of a Likud regime but will not be reluctant to join the Labor Alignment in opposition to foreign policy moves, the sources said.
Meanwhile, Likud leader Menachem Begin who hopes to present his government to the Knesset next Monday, neared completion of a coalition agreement with the National Religious Party (NRP) today. One of his first moves was to mollify the NRP’s anger over his naming of MK Geulah Cohen as Deputy Minister of Education and Culture without prior consultation. Zevulun Hammer, of the NRP, who is slated to be Minister of Education and Culture in the next Cabinet, objected strenuously to that move.
MORE CONCESSIONS TO RELIGIOUS PARTY
Last night, Simcha Ehrlich, Likud’s number two man, apologized to the NRP on Begin’s behalf and promised that all appointments would be made in full consultation and cooperation with Likud’s coalition partners. He described the nomination of Cohen, a former member of Lehi, the pre-State underground fighting group, as premature. But he gave no indication that Begin would reverse his decision.
Likud still has hopes of persuading the DMC to join its coalition. To improve that prospect, the NRP has agreed to withdraw its opposition to electoral reforms, a DMC proposal that was its key domestic platform plank. Likud, on its part, has made further concessions to the religious party. It agreed that autopsies will be allowed only on the approval of the family of the deceased. Approval by a panel consisting of two doctors and a rabbi would be required in cases of a medical emergency. The NRP also won a Likud promise to enforce public Sabbath observance. The Orthodox party objects to movie houses being allowed to remain open on the Sabbath.