Histadrut Race is Close

A close race between the Labor Alignment and Likud for control of Histadrut, Israel’s giant trade union federation, is expected in Tuesday’s elections. Likud held its mass rally here last night and Labor did the same several days ago. Each drew more than 20,000 of the party faithful, an unusually large turn-out for a nongovernmental contest.

At the Labor rally throngs cheered as former Premier Golda Meir was invited to the dais to join the party leaders–Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin, Victor Shemtov of Mapam and Yeruham Meshel, the incumbent Secretary General of Histadrut, who is expected to be re-elected to that office if Labor wins.

Premier-designate Menachem Begin addressed the Likud rally. He promised to freeze prices, wages and taxes for a period of 1-2 years in order to settle the nation’s economy. David Levy is Likud’s candidate for Secretary General.

Campaigning so far has been more heated and vitriolic than the Knesset election campaign a month ago. It has been characterized by personal attacks, charges and counter-charges published in newspaper advertisements and the filing of several libel suits. Likud hopes to consolidate its May 17 electoral victory by winning control of Histadrut away from Labor for the first time in Histadrut’s history. Labor is equally anxious to retain its hegemony of Histadrut which would increase its potency as the largest opposition faction in the Knesset. (By Yitzhak Shargil)

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