JERUSALEM (Jul. 17)
Prof. Shlomo Avineri, former director general of the Foreign Ministry, has accused the Labor Party of rubberstamping Likud foreign policy and failing to function as an opposition party. He said that Labor Party leader Shimon Peres has made no major statement critical of Likud foreign or defense policies and contrasted Peres’ silence with Premier Menachem Begin’s outspoken criticism of the Labor government during his 29 years in the opposition.
Speaking on an Israel Radio interview, Avineri said he hoped, as everyone else did, that Begin’s present trip to Washington will be successful. He said Begin’s peace proposals which he has kept secret could not differ in principle from Likud’s election campaign platform. He predicted that Begin and President Carter will concentrate on getting to know each other and that their talks Tuesday and Wednesday will be of a preliminary nature.
Avineri, who was chief administrator of Israel’s diplomatic establishment under former Foreign Minister Yigal Allon, said that Begin, who has been in office less than two months, has succeeded in silencing the opposition. He said that the Labor Alignment under Peres’ leadership “says amen” to all government statements although it refused Begin’s offer to form a national unity coalition. According to Avineri, the Labor Alignment lost the elections in part because it played into Likud’s hands by blurring the foreign policy differences between the two parties.