Knesset Expected to Ok Broadened Coalition; Begin Hails Largest Majority Since Unity Government

The Knesset was expected to extend a vote of confidence tonight to the expanded coalition government of Premier Menachem Begin which includes four ministers of the Democratic Movement for Change (DMC). The Cabinet welcomed its new members at a brief special session this morning prior to going to the Knesset for formal approval. (See related story on Page 2.)

Begin, who introduced the new ministers –Yigael Yadin, Shmuel Tamir, Meir Amit and Dr. Israel Katz–told the Knesset that the new coalition was based on the largest majority since the national unity government of Golda Meir that collapsed in 1970. “Such a majority is not a commonplace majority nowadays,” the Premier said. “Ever established democracies such as Britain and Italy govern with a small majority. But it is preferable to do so with a large one,” he said. He said the broadened coalition was welcomed by the Jewish people in Israel and abroad because they understood that Israel now faces serious challenges.

ANGRY REMARKS

Bitterness entered the Knesset debate after Labor Alignment leader Shimon Peres assailed the DMC’s entry into the government. He said the establishment of the DMC last year was accompanied by the hopes and wishes of many who believed it would bring about change. Now “we have four new ministers and another hope that proved wrong,” he said. He observed that “the DMC had two principles which it adopted from the Labor Alignment–electoral reform and readiness for territorial concessions. These two principles were beheaded before they could be implemented,” he charged.

Akiva Noff of the DMC replied angrily that his party has already effected an important change by ousting the Labor government. Yehuda Ben Meir of the National Religious Party urged Labor to detach itself from Mapam and join the coalition.

NEXT STORY