Major Reshuffling of Cabinet Seen

A major reshuffling of Premier Menachem Begin’s Cabinet appeared imminent today in the wake of Moshe Dayan’s resignation as Foreign Minister. Although no official announcements have been made, the probable composition of the reorganized Cabinet emerged following a series of meetings between Begin and a number of key ministers this morning.

Deputy Premier Yigael Yadin, leader of the. Democratic Movement, is expected to replace Dayan as Foreign Minister. The Deputy Premiership may be assigned to Finance Minister Simcha Ehrlich who will, in turn, be replaced as Finance Minister by Yigal Hurwitz, the former Minister of Commerce who quit the Cabinet last year in protest against the Camp David accords, which he opposed. Ehrlich, who has been under fire because of Israel’s deteriorating economy and galloping inflation, is a member of Likud’s Liberal Party wing. Hurwitz belongs to the small, militantly nationalist Laam faction of Likud.

In addition, Begin is expected to name Yehuda Ben-Meir, chairman of the National Religious Party’s Knesset faction, as Deputy Foreign Minister and Yigal Cohen-Orgad of Herut, as Deputy Finance Minister. The elevation of Ben-Meir to sub-Cabinet rank is believed intended to mollify the NRP which is angered because the Democratic Movement, the smallest coalition partner, would control three key portfolios — the Foreign Ministry, Justice Ministry and Ministry of Labor and Welfare.

The NRP has demanded the Foreign Ministry for Yosef Burg, the Minister of Interior who heads the Israeli negotiating team in the autonomy talks with Egypt. Herut has also demanded the Foreign Ministry on grounds that it is the largest coalition faction.

There was no indication today as to when an official announcement may be forthcoming. Yadin is still confined to Hadassah Hospital where he is recovering from a mild heart attack. He said this morning that no one has approached him as yet but he is under doctor’s orders to rest and is not permitted to engage in political discussions or read the newspapers. The probable reshuffle has not been discussed by the official bodies of the various parties concerned.

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