Jerusalem (Jan. 20)
Debate began in the Knesset today on the government’s bill to hold elections next July 7. But behind the scenes discussions are also underway between coalition and opposition factions and most political observers predict a Labor-Likud compromise on a somewhat earlier date, possibly June 23.
MK David Glass of the National Religious Party, who is chairman of the Knesset’s Legal Committee, seemed to agree with that prediction. His committee will get the government bill after it passes its first reading and will refer it back to the full Knesset for its second and third readings with recommended changes. The compromise date will probably be decided in committee where Glass and his two NRP colleagues hold the balance between Likud and Labor.
July 7 was the date decided on by the Cabinet last Sunday, though apparently subject to change. Likud’s Liberal Party wing is unhappy with it because the Maccabiah Games with which the party is closely associated begin on July 6. The Labor Party objected because July is the vacation season when many Israeli voters will be abroad. Labor Party chairman Shimon Peres said today that July 7 was just a “whim” on the part of Premier Menachem Begin.