JERUSALEM (Nov. 14)
Opposition Knesset members from both the right and left of the political spectrum reacted to government policies on the economy and on Lebanon today with a string of no-confidence motions. But the parties they represent are too small to pose a threat to the Labor-Likud government and only a few ministers attended the session.
Motions of no confidence were presented by Mapam, the Civil Rights Movement (CRM), the Progressive List for Peace and the Hadash Communists, all, in varying degrees, to the left of center and by the rightwing Tehiya party. The protestors acted out of vastly different motives, particularly on the Lebanon issue.
Haika Grossman of Mapam contended that the government is not worthy of Knesset confidence because of rising unemployment that affects young people in the development towns and poses a threat to the entire work force. She denounced politicians who want to use unemployment as a tool to cure inflation.
Yuval Neeman of Tehiya criticized the government for failing to make use of the Labor Party’s good relations with Histadrut to work out a “convenient economic plan.” He also injected a foreign policy note, accusing Likud of failure to prevent Labor Party leaders from initiating political moves toward Jordan and Egypt. Tehiya has always opposed the peace treaty with Egypt and wants no dealings with Jordan.
Charlie Biton of Hadash blasted Histadrut for its alleged lack of zeal against unemployment. He contended that the wage-price freeze package deal will not reduce inflation but would only hurt wage earners whose income already had dropped by 20 percent. He was apparently referring to a requirement that wage-earners forego one-third of their monthly cost-of-living allowances for the duration of the three month freeze.
GOVERNMENT CHARGED WITH CODDLING EXTREMISTS
Shulamit Aloni of the CRM assailed the government on another matter. She accused the Labor Party of coddling extremists, such as the “provocateur” Rabbi Moshe Levinger, leader of militant settlers in the Hebron area on the West Bank. Levinger has spent the last two weeks in a sit-down demonstration outside the Dahaishe refugee camp to protest what he claims is the government’s failure to take strong action against Palestinian residents of the camp who throw rocks at Israeli vehicles. The government has taken no steps to remove him.
“Don’t let them (the rightwingers) lead you,” Aloni urged Laborites. She called on the Labor Party “to end this dangerous and distorted patriotism, this stupid national pride which keeps us in Lebanon.”
Matityahu Peled of the Progressive List for Peace, charged that while the government says it wants to pull out it is doing everything “to stay in Lebanon.” As examples, he said Israel is paving new roads in south Lebanon, building a new detention camp near Tyre and preparing the Israel Defense Force for another winter in Lebanon. “The IDF should be moved out before the winter begins,” Peled said.
Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin replied that the basis of the government’s policy in Lebanon was security for Israel’s northern borders in return for withdrawing the IDF. He also criticized the Beirut government for suspending the withdrawal negotiations that began last week because Israel arrested four Shiite Moslem militia leaders responsible for attacks on the IDF. (See separated story.)
“We proposed cessation of all hostilities during the negotiations but were rejected,” Rab in said. “We did not set this proposal as a condition for continuation of the talks.”