JERUSALEM (Jul. 13)
As Yitzhak Rabin officially became Israel’s new prime minister Monday, he left little doubt that one of his top priorities would be to advance the Middle East peace process.
Presenting his government to the opening session of the 13th Knesset the Israeli Labor Party leader invited the leaders of Jordan, Syria and Lebanon to come to Jerusalem and offered himself to travel to the various Arab capitals.
He also issued an invitation to the Jordanian-Palestinian delegation to the peace talks to begin “informal talks” here immediately on how to quicken the pace of negotiations on an autonomy agreement for the administered territories.
His remarks appeared to have immediate dividends. Late in the day, the White House in Washington announced that President Bush had invited the new prime minister to his vacation home in Kennebunkport, Maine, at an unspecified date in early August.
Rabin’s government, comprising the Labor, Meretz and Shas parties, won Knesset approval Monday evening, by a comfortable majority of 67-53.
The three coalition partners, which together hold 62 seats, were joined in the vote to support the government by the two mainly Arab parties: the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality, known as Hadash, and the Arab Democratic Front, led by former Labor Party Knesset member Abdel Wahab Darousha.
Darousha said his two-man faction had decided to support the government, rather than abstain, and would give Rabin a year’s “credit”