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Begin Continues to Delay Submitting His Formal Resignation to Herzog

Premier Menachem Begin is continuing to delay submitting his formal letter of resignation to President Chaim Herzog, despite the fact that he announced his resignation two weeks ago and that his Herut Party elected Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir to succeed Begin as party leader. Begin had been expected to hand in his formal resignation letter last weekend but then postponed doing so until after Rosh Hashanah.

An aid to the Premier could not say today whether the continuing delay was due to Begin’s poor health or whether he was deferring his meeting with Herzog in order to give Shamir more time to reconstitute the Likud coalition so that Herzog could ask it to form the new government.

Herzog himself, in a radio interview, refused to comment on the ongoing dispute between legal experts as to whether Begin’s delay in formally resigning is a violation of constitutional propriety. Herzog said he did not regard the office of the President as slighted or insulted by the fact that coalition negotiations were proceeding between the constituent elements of the Likud before Begin had formally submitted his resignation.

BEGIN ABSENT FROM SYNAGOGUE, CABINET

Meanwhile, Begin did not attend today’s weekly Cabinet session “because he did not feel well,” according to an official communique. The statement added that Begin had asked Deputy Premier David Levy to chair the meeting in his place. In addition, Begin did not attend Rosh Hashanah services at the Great Synagogue near his home, unlike previous years. Instead, the synagogue sent a shofar-blower to the Premier’s home so that Begin could hear the traditional blowing of the ram’s horn.

Israel Radio reported that Hadassah Hospital staffers who have treated Begin in the past said he had not suffered any particular medical setback over the weekend — which he spent quietly at his residence.

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