JERUSALEM (Jul. 13)
A majority of the Knesset House Committee voted yesterday to approve Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan’s request for recognition as an independent Knesset member. Angry Labor Alignment members who denounced Dayan for political opportunism, walked out of the session. Dayan’s request was approved by 12 votes of Likud, the National Religious Party, the Aguda bloc and Meir Zorea of the Democratic Movement for Change. Akiva Noff of the DMC abstained.
Dayan was not present. His absence was seized upon by Labor Alignment Whip Moshe Shahal who said there was no precedent for recognizing an independent MK who did not first appear before the committee to explain the request. Shahal was overruled by committee chairman Yitzhak Berman of Likud after another Likud member put in a telephone call to Dayan and returned with the latter’s explanation.
Dayan claimed that he did not resign from the Labor Party but was “expelled” because he heeded Premier Menachem Begin’s request that he “serve the nation in this most critical hour.” Shahal said that Dayan left Labor the day after the elections “in circumstances that gained him political benefit.” Another Labor MK, Yossi Sarid, noted that Dayan applied for recognition as an independent on June 12, two days before he took the Knesset oath of office.