TEL AVIV (Nov. 23)
Former Defense Minister Ezer Weizman, who voted against the Likud-led government on a motion of no-confidence in the Knesset last Wednesday, is actively seeking a new political base. Although his formal ouster from Likud” Herut faction awaited his appearance before its Secretariate today, Weizman announced of a television interview last Friday that he is planning to establish a new movement as an alternative to Likud.
He insisted that it would not be a coalition of loosely tied dissenters such as those who formed Yigael Yadin’s Democratic Movement for Change which proceeded to disintegrate after an impressive electoral showing in 1977. It would be, he said, a real alternative to the Labor Party and Likud, and, if Weizman has his way, it will be headed by former Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan.
According to Weizman, Dayan is the political figure best fitted to be Israel’s next Prime Minister. He is a man of outstanding personal achievements and great vision, better accepted in the world at large and in the Arab world in particular than any other Israeli, Weizman said.
BOMBSHELL LEADS TO SPECULATION
Weizman’s bombshell — his apparent writing off of any future for himself in Likud and his selection of Dayan rather than himself to lead Israel out of its many difficulties — touched off an orgy of speculation in political quarters here. Only the evening before, Weizman dined with Dayan and they apparently discussed the political situation.
They have in common the fact that both served in Premier Menachem Begin’s coalition Cabinet and both quit — at different times — largely because of dissatisfaction with Begin’s domestic and foreign policies. Both voted against the government last Wednesday.
But Dayan said after he left the Cabinet in October, 1979 that he would serve out his term as an independent MK and not seek reelection. He reiterated in an interview yesterday that he is not presently planning to join a party or to take part in political activity in the future. “Today, I have no intention to run for the Knesset” in the next elections, Dayan said, but “there might be another situation tomorrow.
Many observers believe that without a man of Dayan’s stature and prestige to lead it, a new political movement would get nowhere. Weizman would not say during his interview who else he had in mind to make up the new party. “There are those who are interested and those who are not,” he said.
He observed that his people need not come from the existing political spectrum. “There are others who wish to see better government, for the good of the people and the State,” he said. “A new party is not an end but the means to lead the country to a better way.”
Some news media speculated that former Justice Minister Shmuel Tamir might join a Weizman group. Others suggested Finance Minister Yigal Hurwitz who has been reported on the verge of resigning from the Begin government. But most commentators observed that whatever the composition of the new party, there can be none without an ideological consensus to bind it. Lack of ideological steadfastness is believed to have been the cause of the DMC’s rapid demise.
OUTSPOKENLY CRITICAL OF LIKUD, BEGIN
If Weizman has not indicated the ideological complexion of his proposed movement he has been outspoken in faulting Likud and particularly, Begin. “This government has failed to turn the peace process — the most magnificent event in recent history — into a major lever to alleviate the Jewish nation and Israel in the economic and social spheres,” he changed.
“Instead,” Weizman claimed, “this government regards peace as almost a tragedy. The Finance Minister has presented the peace as a negative factor in our economy. Peace, if properly handled, should have brought more Jews here and more investors. Defining peace as a source of our economic hardships is misleading. It brings a feeling of no-confidence and no-confidence brought Labor’s downfall and will bring Likud’s downfall,” he said.
With respect to Begin, Weizman said, “I am in good relations with 118 members of the Knesset. I am the 119th. The one missing is Begin. I am sorry for that. If Begin heads the Likud in the next elections it would be a mistake. I am not going with him.”
Weizman said. “I am for advancing elections. We were not elected to return the entire Sinai. We were not elected to bring 130 percent inflation. Let’s go to the nation and see where we stand.” He also supported autonomy on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. “We have signed on accord by which the situation there will be changed. My concept of autonomy is simple: everything except an army and foreign policy. Palestinian entity? Yes. Let us do what we have signed at Camp David and after three or five years we shall see what to do next.”