Tel Aviv (Apr. 6)
Former Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan’s announcement Saturday that he will run in the June 30 Knesset elections at the head of a new party, Telem (Movement for National Renewal), was greeted with scorn and derision by both the opposition Labor Alignment and Likud over the weekend.
Spokesmen for both blocs predicted that the new faction was doomed to failure as a political factor but would succeed in fragmenting the Knesset so that no single party would be able to achieve a working majority.
Dayan made his announcement at a meeting of the Bamah political discussion group here. He said it would work for the establishment of a broad coalition but would not demand any specific portfolios in the next government. He named the 15 members who would stand for election with him on the Telem ticket.
Significantly, they did not include former Finance Minister Yigal Hurwitz who withdrew his three-man Rafi faction from the Likud coalition last year. Dayan said, however, that he was ready to accept Hurwitz and the other Rafi members if they accepted the Telem platform.
ACROSS THE BOARD CRITICISM
Labor Party chairman Shimon Peres criticized Dayan’s move, observing that now was not the time to split the electorate into a welter of splinter parties. A large single party is required to guide the country through the difficult period ahead, Peres said.
Victor Shemtov, leader of Mapam, said Dayan’s list was composed of “outcasts from various other parties.” Its existence, he said, would only ensure that the National Religious Party would be courted by other factions in order to form a coalition. Likud Knesset Whip Haim Corfu predicted a short existence for Telem because, he said, it was unnecessary.
Avraham Sharir, of Likud’s Liberal Party faction, said Telem was the Democratic Movement for Change (DMC) in a different guise and like the DMC would serve only to split the vote. He was referring to the party headed by Yigael Yadin which won 15 Knesset seats in the 1977 elections, chiefly at the expense of the Labor Alignment, later joined the Likud-led government and subsequently disintegrated.
Mordechai Wirshubsky, of Shinui, a breakaway faction of the DMC, said Dayan’s list was made up of “power hungry individuals surrounding an individual (Dayan) who represented all that was negative and dubious in Israeli society.”
Hurwitz said he refused to join Dayan’s party because its call for the unilateral implementation of autonomy for the Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza Strip was “dangerous.” He also disagreed with Dayan that the future of Jerusalem should be included in any agenda of discussions with the Arabs. Hurwitz said his Rafi faction would meet shortly to decide whether to enter the Knesset elections with its own list. He said he thought it should
In addition to Dayan, the Telem list includes Mordechai Ben-Porat and Zalman Shoval, two longtime supporters of the former Foreign Minister; Yisrael Katz, of the Democratic Movement, who is currently Minister of Welfare in the Likud Cabinet; former Police Commissioner Herzl Shafir; and Ram Caspi, a prominent attorney.