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Efforts to Assuage Nrp over Ministerial Reshuffle

Premier Menachem Begin’s government is working behind the scenes to find a means of soothing the anger of the National Religious Party over the failure to bring more NRP members into the Cabinet in the latest ministerial reshuffle. The possibility of more deputy ministers for the NRP has been raised. Begin has filled the several Cabinet vacancies by giving them to Likud members already in the Cabinet, a move approved by the Knesset yesterday by a 49-40 vote. There were nine abstentions, all members of the NRP. (See Jan. 16 Bulletin for ministerial changes.)

Interior Minister Yosef Burg, the leader of the NRP, said that while his patty feels aggrieved it decided not to force a Cabinet crisis in view of the delicate situation of the Israeli-Egyptian peace talks and the danger that such a crisis could shake the stability of the government coalition. The NRP believes it should have more Cabinet ministers because at present it has three ministers with 12 Knesset members, the same number as the Democratic Movement led by Deputy Premier Yigael Yadin, which has only seven MKs following the split in the former Democratic Movement for Change.