JERUSALEM (Jan. 12)
Ariel Sharon sharply criticized the Labor-Likud unity coalition government in which he serves as Minister of Commerce and Industry Sunday night and told a rally of 2,000 members of his own Herut Party that their leadership was “paralyzed.”
Sharon, an outspoken Likud hardliner who advocates massive Jewish settlement of the administered territories, derided the unity government on that issue. He said this was the first year since the 1967 Six-Day War that no budget has been allocated to purchase land in the territories.
Speaking at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds, he demanded the sort of education that would make Israeli youngsters proud Jews. He decried the “slackening of conviction in the exclusive right (of Jews) over all of Eretz Israel and the erosion of national pride.”
“This is what leads to the weakening of the State more than any security or economic problem,” Sharon said.
The Tel Aviv Fairgrounds was the site last March of an aborted Herut convention. The convention broke up in chaos as a result of a power struggle for party leadership between Yitzhak Shamir, then Foreign Minister and Deputy Premier, and Housing Minister David Levy. Sharon’s faction aligned itself at the time with Levy.
In his speech Sunday, Sharon urged that the convention be reconvened at the earliest moment to instill new life into the Herut movement. “There is no need to wait for another two months,” he said.