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Growing Hostility Between Rabin, Peres

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The hostility between, former Premier Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, the leader of the Labor Alignment, has reached a new peak, informed sources told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today. The growing tension between the two Labor leaders is causing the party great damage and is one of the major reasons the party is unable to recover from the devastating defeat it suffered in the last general elections, observers and politicians here believe.

The new source of tension between Rabin and Peres stems from an interview given by the former Premier last Friday to Haaretz in which he attacked Peres. Although he did not mention Peres by name, Rabin talked throughout the interview of the “powers” within the Labor Party which constantly schemed against him. Rabin told his interviewer that his chances to succeed as Premier were slim because of the constant actions against him and his policy.

In the view of political circles here, Rabin’s interview indicated that he is haunted by his former Defense Minister. Those circles note that Rabin’s answers throughout the interview indicated that he was absolutely convinced during his term as Premier that the “powers” in the party were moving to bring about his failure.

Although Peres has refrained so for from any public response in the wake of the Rabin interview, a few of his aides have already charged that Rabin’s statements are damaging to the party and a barrier to the party’s effort to rehabilitate itself. Some Labor Party members expressed concern during the last few days that the Rabin-Peres split and the prominent space given to it in the Israeli media could harm any efforts to restore the party to what it once was.

Some observers here regard the “war” between Rabin and Peres, as well as other phenomena within the party, as symptoms of the ongoing trauma the Labor Party suffered as a result of its defeat in the recent election. “There is no attempt as yet to rehabilitate the party,” one Labor official told the JTA. “This is a process which will take some time. The latest events were part of the undercurrent before the elections, and now they have come out into the open.”

While party members consider the present situation to be intolerable they still express concern that there is no possible way to stop it, at least not until the Labor Party gets over its “trauma” and starts structuring itself as a firm opposition party to the Likud-led government.

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