JERUSALEM (May. 17)
The Labor Alignment shelved plans to present a motion of no-confidence on economic issues to the Knesset tomorrow in an attempt to unseat Premier Menachem Begin’s narrowly based coalition government. The decision came 24 hours after Labor Party leaders were assured by Begin that the government has no immediate plans for military action in southern Lebanon.
The proposed motion would have been based on figures just released by the Central Bureau of Statistics which showed that the cost-of-living rose by 10.7 percent in April, the highest increase for that month in 29 years. The Laborites thought it might be supported by the two-man Telem faction headed by former Finance Minister Yigael Hurwitz who is strongly critical of the economic policies of his successor, Finance Minister Yoram Aridor.
Telem support would have brought down the Begin government which has only a one-seat margin in the Knesset. But Alignment leaders decided at a meeting today to consult further with other opposition factions before making the move. They reportedly concluded that there was no point in submitting a no – confidence motion certain to be defeated, in which case the government would only be strengthened.
LEBANESE BORDER SITUATION DISCUSSED
Labor Party chairman Shimon Peres, party secretary Haim Barlev and former Premier Yitzhak Rabin met with Begin yesterday to discuss the tense situation on the Lebanese border. They emerged from the meeting apparently “relieved” that no military action was planned at this time.
Begin reportedly told the opposition leaders that he attached great importance to good relations with the U.S. The U.S. has expressed concern over the fate of the cease-fire along the Lebanese border and has been urging all parties to exercise maximum restraint.
Begin’s meeting with the top Labor Party leaders raised new speculation that a national unity government may be in the offing. But Peres said that subject was not discussed. He said Begin initiated the meeting to demonstrate that he was “for a unity of the people.”