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Tami May Play Crucial Role in Wednesday’s Non-confidence Debate

The Tami Party, which holds only three seats in the 120-member Knesset, may play a crucial role in tomorrow’s debate and vote on an opposition non-confidence motion aimed at unseating the Likud government.

The small faction, which controls the Labor and Welfare Ministry, is being ardently wooed by the Labor Alignment to defect from Premier Yitzhak Shamir’s coalition. At the same time, it is deep in negotiations with the government over a series of demands that would benefit its low income, largely Sephardic constituency.

While Tami has agreed in principle to proposed budget cuts, it is insisting on higher tax exemptions for poor families, increased child care allowances and a minimum wage law. Treasury officials say if those demands are met, their cost would cancel out the cuts.

Tami representatives met with Finance Minister Yigal Cohen-Orgad Sunday and are scheduled for another meeting with him later today. According to Treasury officals, Cohen-Orgad promised nothing.

The Labor Alignment has kept a close watch on these negotiations. At a weekend meeting with Tami leaders it reportedly promised the party top postions in Histadrut enterprises if they help bring down the government. Should the Tami MKs support the non-confidence motion or abstain, Likud’s parliamentary majority would be reduced to one, and even that is uncertain.

Avraham Melamed, a National Religious Party MK, said today that he has not yet decided how he will vote tomorrow. He demanded, on behalf of the NRP, an amendment to the law governing the appointment of dayanim (religious court judges). The NRP has complained that under the present law too many judgeships go to non-NRP rabbis. The change is opposed by the Aguda Israel party, also a coalition partner.

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