Ben-porat Resigns from Government

Mordechai Ben-Porat announced today that he has resigned from Premier Yitzhak Shamir’s Cabinet because of serious doubts that the Shamir government is capable of functioning properly.

Ben-Porat, a Minister-Without-Portfolio, said he would remain in the Likud-led coalition as a one-man Knesset faction and continue to work for creation of a national unity government. Failing that, he said, he would strongly support early elections.

Ben-Porat’s departure from the Cabinet has contributed to growing doubts that the Shamir government can long survive, despite its defeat of three opposition non-confidence motions on the economy in the Knesset last week. In his letter of resignation, he referred to personal and party conflicts of interests within the Shamir coalition. “My hopes that the goverment would function properly have been disappointed,” he told the Premier. Ben-Porat and former Finance Minister Yigael Hurwitz were members of the Telem faction of the late Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan. After Dayan’s death, Telem was dissolved but its two surviving MKs remained part of the coalition Knesset faction.

Meanwhile, the Labor Alignment, having failed repeatedly to depose Likud on non-confidence motions, intends to present a bill in the Knesset next month calling for new elections. Ben-Porat could be decisive in the vote on such a motion. Shamir warned today, however, that elections at this time would damage the country. He said the government must do everything possible to serve out its full term, which expires in 1985 and not worry about opinion polls.

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