JERUSALEM (Aug. 12)
Ezer Weizman, a former Likud minister of defense who is now a Labor Party member of Knesset, may soon embark on yet another political career: head of a left-of-Labor alignment of peace-oriented parties.
Speculation about this mounted after Weizman gave notice in a television interview last week that he sees himself drifting ever farther from Labor’s policies.
On the left, key figures in the Citizens Rights Movement, the Center-Shinui Movement and Mapam have been assiduously wooing Weizman as a potential vote-getter. He is one of the few men centrally involved in the Camp David accords who are still active in politics.
Weizman, 67, resigned as minister of defense in 1980, charging then Premier Menachem Begin, his fellow Likudnik, with failing to implement Israel’s commitment under the Camp David accords to negotiate for Palestinian autonomy.
After that, he headed his own centrist party, Yahad, which joined the Labor Alignment to try to block Yitzhak Shamir of Likud from getting the premiership.
Last month, his only son, Shaul, and daughter-in-law, Rachel, were killed in an automobile accident. The episode received widespread publicity because of Shaul’s two-decade fight with serious head injuries sustained at the Suez Canal during the War of Attrition.
His son’s injury had been seen as an important element in the former air force commander’s "conversion" from ultra-hawk to outspoken dove.
Weizman made it clear to television interviewers last week that the personal tragedy has not blunted his determination to contribute to the cause of peace, as he sees it.
URGES PERES. RABIN TO STEP ASIDE
Specifically, he spoke out unequivocally in favor of Israel’s withdrawal from the Golan Heights, within the context of far-reaching arrangements for demilitarization and limitation of forces, if needed to achieve full peace with Syria.
Labor Party Chairman Shimon Peres and his traditional challenger for the party leadership, Yitzhak Rabin, have both spoken against Israel "descending from" the Golan, and other Labor members of Knesset have signed a petition opposing any territorial concession there.
Weizman reiterated his longstanding view that both Peres and Rabin should step aside, but he did not indicate his own preferred candidate for the leadership of the party. A number of Laborites have announced their candidacy.
Weizman hinted broadly that he is considering quitting Labor. A political party, he explained, is only an instrument for achieving or promoting one’s beliefs. If he felt another framework would be more effective, he would consider moving to it, he said.
The three left-of-Labor Zionist parties have been holding talks among themselves for some months with a view to running in the next elections on a joint ticket. Predictably, personality clashes have arisen, and bringing in an outside figure could conceivably help overcome them.
Alternatively, Weizman might be projected not as the head of a joint list but as a person acceptable to all three parties as their government representative.