Mapam Secretariate Votes to End Alignment with Labor Party

The Mapam Secretariate voted last night to dissolve its partnership with the Labor Party, thereby bringing to an end the Labor Alignment created more than a decade ago. The recommendation, adopted by a majority of 25 votes, will be submitted to the Mapam convention for approval when it meets in February.

The proposal would restore Mapam’s original status as an independent group with options to enter alliances in the Knesset with other leftistsocialist factions such as Sheli and possibly, though not necessarily, with Labor. Labor Party chairman Shimon Peres expressed regret over the Mapam decision. He said it would weaken the Labor front at a time when unity was essential to deal with crucial economic and political issues.

A significant portion of Mapam’s rank-and-file has been unhappy with the Alignment for some time, pre-dating the 1977 elections when the Labor government was unseated by Likud. Mapam felt that its voice went unheeded in party councils and it had too little input in formulating Alignment policies. Veteran party leaders thought differently.

Mapam Secretary General Meir Talmi proposed replacing the Alignment by a more equal partnership with Labor while Yaacov Hazan suggested a federation of all Socialist-Zionist parties. Both proposals failed to command a majority in the Secretariate.

Meanwhile, Mapam, one of the sharpest critics of Premier Menachem Begin’s policies, came out last night in support of the government’s position in its dispute with Egypt over a peace treaty. Talmi read a statement laying full responsibility on Egypt for the impasse in the peace talks.

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