Tel Aviv (Apr. 14)
– Former Finance Minister Yigal Hurwitz informed members of his Rafi faction last night that he is now prepared to join Telem, the new centrist political party headed by former Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan. Hurwitz, who had previously rejected Dayan’s approaches, reversed himself after Dayan agreed to modify a plank in the Telem election platform dealing with Jerusalem which Hurwitz had found objectionable.
The immediate outcome of Hurwitz’s announcement may be a split in Rafi, the faction that quit Premier Menachem Begin’s Likud coalition when Hurwitz resigned as Finance Minister last year. Rafi members are still not satisfied with the Telem platform and demand, moreover, at least four safe seats on the list the new party will enter in the June 30 Knesset elections. The Telem list has been drawn up and it is unlikely that the original members of the party will forego their safe seats to accomodate Rafi.
Hurwitz had said only a week ago that he could not accept the Telem platform because it acknowledged that the future status of Jerusalem could be on the agenda of peace talks with the Arab states, notably Jordan. Dayan agreed to delete the plank from the platform but included a similar formulation in a footnote.
Hurwitz still objected, whereupon Dayan agreed to amend the plank and footnote to indicate that any reference to Jerusalem in future peace talks would acknowledge only a Jordanian interest in the city’s Moslem holy places, not in the city itself.
OBJECTION TO USE OF PARTY’S NAME
Meanwhile, an American Zionist leader has objected strenuously to the use of the name Telem by Dayan’s new party. Faye Schenk, who heads the World Zionist Organization’s organization department, pointed out in a letter to Dayan that Telem, an acronym for “Movement for State Renewal” is also an acronym for “Movement for Zionist Fulfillment”, a body established on the U.S. West Coast three years ago composed of Americans pleged to settle in Israel within a specific time. It now has some 2000 members in the U.S. and several hundred in other countries.
Schenk pointed out in her letter that in addition to being unethical, the use of the name of an existing organization by Dayan’s political party could create confusion at the next World Zionist Congress where both “Telems” will submit lists of candidates.