Labor Party’s Moshavim District Wants End to Alignment with Mapam

The Moshavim District of the Labor Party adopted a resolution yesterday urging the party to end its alignment with Mapam and re-establish the historic Mapai faction as the central core of the Labor movement in Israel. The resolution, adopted by a substantial majority in the district meeting, was viewed with dismay by other Laborites who saw in it a sure formula for the dismantling of Labor at a time when the defeated party is at its lowest ebb.

The resolution was strongly supported by former Agriculture Minister Aharon Uzan, leader of the party’s Moshavim District. He said Labor could rejuvenate itself and restore its appeal to the electorate only by splitting with Mapam. The latter faction joined Labor seven years ago creating the Labor Alignment which governed Israel until this year. The Moshavim will seek support for its position in other Labor circles and hopes to bring the matter up for discussion in the central bodies of the party.

It was not clear what would happen to the other factions in Labor–Rafi and Achdut Haavodah–should Mapai be restored as the principal element. According to supporters of the resolution, if they do not choose to go along, Mapai would have to pursue its goals without them.

Uzan’s proposals have been in the air for some time and have drawn warnings from Labor Alignment leader Shimon Peres that this is not the time to weaken Labor’s ranks. Some political observers viewed Uzan’s ideas as the coup de grace for Labor’s hopes to region leadership of the country. Israel Kargman, a Labor Party veteran, said last night that the Moshavim resolution was unwise and untimely.

Meir Talmi, secretary general of Mapam, noted that his faction’s agreement was with the Labor Party, not the moshavim and the final word rests with the party. He noted that there are strong elements in Mapam that have been urging a split with Labor but Mapam as a whole wants to maintain the Alignment for the sake of unity in the Labor movement.

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