Tel Aviv (Sep. 13)
The Histadrut convention ended in uproar in the early hours last Friday morning after cudgel-wielding border policemen were called in to separate battling Labor and Likud members. The uproar increased yet further when one of the Likud members was arrested, but died down somewhat when the convention president persuaded the police to release him but bar him from re-entering the hall.
The meeting of the 1,501-strong assembly had been noisy throughout its four days of deliberations, with frequent interruptions of speakers, especially by the Likud minority, in scenes reminiscent of the national pre-election period.
But the uproar rose to a peak, culminating in fist fights and a wild surge towards the platform, when the Labor majority introduced a vote re-designing election districts to allow members of kibbutzim to vote for local Labor councils in nearby towns. The reorganization plan was carried by a majority vote, while Likud speakers repeatedly called unsuccessfully for a re-vote and a re-count.
The Labor spokesmen said it was designed to aid integration and avoid a repetition of pre-election bitterness in places such as Kiryat Shemonah, where Likud members published highly defamatory material against nearby upper Galilee kibbutzim. But the Likud, led by Deputy Premier David Levy, charged the new plan was aimed at swamping Labor councils in areas where the Likud had a majority, as in several new immigrant centers.