Centrist Party Urged for Israel
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Centrist Party Urged for Israel

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Elimelech Rimalt, a former close associate of Premier Menachem Begin who he helped establish the Likud coalition, accused him of non-leadership today and urged the formation of a centrist party to confront Likud in the next elections.

Rimalt, a member of Likud’s Liberal Party wing and at one time its leader, spoke at a meeting of the Shai faction which defected last year from the Democratic Movement for Change (DMC) and left the coalition. “Likud has long ceased to disappoint its voters, it simply cause them to despair,” said Rimalt. He charged that the present government is no government, its leadership is no leadership and its policies go round and round in an endless circle.

The result is that the government finds itself in a cul de sac of its own making because it clings to goals that are unattainable in the present national and international situation, Rimalt said. Rimalt, who once stepped aside to allow former finance Minister Simcha Ehrlich to assume leadership of the Liberal Party, stressed that he is still a member of the party. But, he said, he shares with members of Shai the feeling that a strong center party must be established as an alternative for bewildered voters who cannot identify either with Likud or the opposition Labor Alignment.

Unless there is a center, Rimalt warned, the polarization between Likud and Labor would widen and both factions would become hostage to their most extremist elements. He said in that case, many new splinter factions would spring up, each with its own demands, which could put an end to democratic government.

Meanwhile, the small leftist Sheli faction lost one of its members today when Meir Tzaban, its representative in the Histadrut Executive, announced that he was joining Mapam, a partner in the Labor Alignment. Tzaban, who was warmly greeted by Mapam Secretary General Victor Shemtov, said he hoped to work for the rejuvenation of the Labor camp and shift it further to the left.

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