JERUSALEM (Oct. 21)
The last obstacles to the National Religious Party’s joining Premier Yitzhak Rabin’s coalition government were overcome at a secret meeting between Rabin, Justice Minister Haim Zadok and NRP leaders here yesterday, and an agreement has been reached that will bring the NRP into the Cabinet, informed sources said today. According to the sources, Rabin yielded to NRP demands for fourth Cabinet seat and agreed that the religious party would not have to denounce the religious-inspired illegal settlement movement as a condition of joining the government.
The NRP will receive the ministries of Interior, Welfare and Religious Affairs, which they had held in the government of former Premier Golda Meir and will receive in addition, a ministry without portfolio, the sources said. But there will be no change in the existing guidelines on religious matters. The NRP’s Central Committee meets this Thursday to take the final decision on joining the government.
But opposition by the militant “young guard” faction in the party is reportedly intensifying. Two of the faction’s leaders, MKs Zevulun Hammer and Yehuda Ben Meir, met with former Defense Minister Moshe Dayan at the latter’s home yesterday. Reportedly they discussed means to oppose Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Jewish settlement rights in that territory.
Although no operative agreement was reached between the NRP men and Dayan who is a member of Premier Rabin’s Labor Party, observers here believe that the meeting presaged closer cooperation between Dayan and opposition elements. The former Defense Minister has broken with the Rabin government’s policy of offering territorial concessions on the West Bank in exchange for concrete peace moves by Jordan and has advocated permanent retention of the territory by Israel and unrestricted Jewish settlement rights.