Mapaiand General Zionists Announce Agreement on Cabinet
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Mapaiand General Zionists Announce Agreement on Cabinet

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The first broad and stable national government in the four-and-a-half year history of Israel was assured today when the representatives of the Mapai and General Zionist Parties signed an agreement providing for their joint formation of a new Cabinet. The agreement was ratified by the central councils of both parties in separate meetings which began last night and were not completed until the early hours of this morning. This pact provides:

1. The Mapai-General Zionist coalition shall remain in effect until the end of the term of the present Knesset — the end of 1955.

2. The two parties shall introduce and assure passage within six months of a new election law which would restrict Knesset representation to parties which obtain ten percent or more of the total national vote.

3. They shall undertake a reform of the educational set-up which would eliminate the present party “trend” systems and would replace them with a secular and a religious sytem.

4. Elections for municipal posts, scheduled for next month, shall be postponed for a year.

5. A joint committee shall reform the civil service system and designate which government officials shall be barred from party and political activities.

6. Economic controls shall be scrapped, except on materials which cannot be produced in the country.

7. Immediate steps shall be taken to stabilize prices and the Israel pound.

8. Measures will be taken to reduce and consolidate the budget.

9. The income tax system will be overhauled, to make it more equitable to all portions of the population.

10. A new attempt will be made to create conditions attractive to foreign capital investment.

11. The system of exit visas will be abolished, except where security considerations require it.

As a result of today’s agreement, the new government will have a stable majority in the Knesset with the two major parties guaranteeing a 73-vote support in the 120-member House. If the Progressive and Mizrachi Labor Parties both join the coalition — which is not considered likely — the government would have as many as 85 votes.

Premier David Ben Gurion will hold off the formal submission of the resignation of his government until Friday, in order to allow time for negotiations with the two small parties. If they enter the new coalition, the Progressives would hold the Ministry of Justice while the Orthodox Laborites would have the Ministry of Religions and the Welfare Ministry, Mr. Ben Gurion has already informed Mizrachi leader Dr. Mordecai Nurok that his tenure as Minister of Posts, Telephones and Telegraph depends on the decision of the Mizrachi Laborites.

Very few changes are expected among the Mapai members of the Cabinet Mr. Ben Gurion will remain Premier and Defense Minister, while Moshe Sharett will remain as Foreign Minister, Behor Shitreet as Police Minister, Ben Zion Dinaburg as Education Minister, Golda Myerson as Minister of Labor and Public Works, Levi Eshkol, as Finance Minister and Pinchas Lavon as Minister with portfolio.

The assignment of Drs. Peretz Naphtali and Dov Joseph, two Mapai members of the present Cabinet, will be announced after the decision of the Progressives and Orthodox Laborites about entering the government is known. It was reported that the four General Zionist leaders who would join the Cabinet are: Israel Rokach, Dr. Peretz Bernstein, Joseph Saphir and Mrs. Shoshana Persitz.

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