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Shamir Warns Labor Party Not to Trigger Break-up of Unity Government

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Deputy Premier and Likud leader Yitzhak Shamir has warned the Labor Party not to trigger the break-up of the national unity government while Israel’s economic recovery is still uncertain.

In a tough speech to Herut Party members in Tel Aviv yesterday, Shamir spoke of “persons and circles in the other camp who cannot restrain their hatred from breaking forth …. They can hardly wait to bring down the government and (thereby) disrupt the economic recovery program.”

Shamir pointed out that the unity government was set up (almost a year ago) primarily to rescue Israel from economic collapse. He said if elections were advanced now, “We would have to start all over again… “

The Deputy Premier continued: “It is not easy to sit in a government with another camp whose political views you so strongly oppose. Nevertheless, we must overcome (the economic crisis) together. It is impossible to achieve this if we are not together.”

He added, though, that the Likud would not recoil from the challenge of elections. “We will tell the people whose fault it is that the country is once again thrown into the maelstrom of a premature election campaign which would be so damaging to the national interests.”

Shamir dismissed recent opinion polls which had predicted a fall in Likud’s strength. “We’re used to all sorts of polls,” he said, “and we never fear them.”

The Likud leader’s harsh words came against the backdrop of a dispute in the unity government over the takeover and subsequent eviction of a group of Kiryat Arba settlers and six Likud MKs from an apartment in the Arab marketplace in central Hebron. Labor and Likud accused each other of misinterpreting the legality of Jewish buying and then settling into apartments in the Arab quarter of Hebron. (See August 26 Bulletin.)

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