TEL AVIV (Mar. 4)
The Labor Party declared a week of mourning for Yigal Allon and suspended all political activity for that period. But this has not restrained speculation over how the death of one of its top leaders will affect the party’s future. Allon died of a heart attack last Friday at the age of 61 and was buried on Sunday.
Among the questions being raised are who will replace him as No. 2 man in the party’s leadership and what will be the fate or the Achdut Haavoda faction that he headed. According to some sources, political activity will be resumed by Israel Galili, one of Labor’s elder statesmen who was a close confidant of the late Premier Golda Meir but has remained in the background in recent years. But he may be challenged by the younger generation, represented by the energetic Jacob Tzur, secretary general of the Achdut Hoavoda-sponsored Kibbutz Meuchod movement.
Observers are also wondering whether the party faction led by Shimon Peres with Allon as both his rival and designated second in command, will continue to dominate Labor or will be replaced by a new grouping. For the time being, it appears that Peres will remain unchallenged for the party leadership. According to some circles, he will select either former Minister of Commerce and Industry Haim Barlev or former Foreign Minister Abba Eban as his second to replace Allon. A question remains as to the role of former Premier Yitzhak Rabin who has challenged Peres for the party leadership in the past. He has been quoted as saying, “All options are open to me.”