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Ben-gurion Hopes for Possibility of Peace with Arabs During Decade

November 20, 1959
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Hopes for immigration of 1,500,000 Jews from the Soviet Union and for the possibility of a peace settlement with the Arabs during Israel’s second decade were expressed today by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.

The Prime Minister expressed these views in a letter, made public today, to Israel Galilee, a member of Parliament from the left-wing Achdut Avodah party. The Prime Minister urged closing of ranks between workers and pioneering elements of Israel “in view of the fateful period which may prove more decisive than 1948,” the year of Israel’s creation.

The Prime Minister warned in the letter that Israel may be faced with a “severe and dangerous military test,” which made it imperative that Israel muster all of its material, technical, moral and spiritual resources. He also wrote that the immigration he expected from Russia might prove to be the most difficult burden which could only be carried out with the vast resources and cooperation of Jews throughout the world.

Differences of opinion between parties need not prevent cooperation, the Prime Minister said. He added that he deplored election smears which “were shameful and damaging to the workers’ unity.” The letter was seen in some quarters as a new bid to Achdut Avodah to take part in the next coalition.


Meanwhile, the Prime Minister continued his talks with party leaders for a new coalition, and met today with leaders of the left-wing Mapam with whom he discussed among other coalition questions that of collective Cabinet responsibility of all coalition partners.

It was learned today that the Prime Minister had failed to persuade Mrs. Golda Meir to continue as Foreign Minister in the new government. Authoritative sources said Mrs. Meir’s decision could be considered final. It was given to Mr. Ben-Gurion at a private meeting. Mrs. Meir. who will continue public service as a member of Knesset, Israel’s Parliament’ may be succeeded by Abba Eban, Israel’s first Ambassador to the United States.

The ultra-Orthodox Agudat Israel and Poale Agudat Israel today rejected a Mapai bid to join in the next coalition. Acting on directives of the joint Agudah Supreme Religious Council, Gedolei Hato rah, party leaders said they could not accept the invitation.

In announcing the rejection, a party spokesman cited a recent meeting of Agudah party leaders with Mr. Ben-Gurion at which several conditions were submitted as a basis for Agudah’s participation in the next government. These reportedly included a demand for a national anti-pig law, tighter observance of the present Sabbath law and approval of dissection of corpses only for criminal investigations.

The Agudah stand virtually eliminated possibilities of a small coalition of Mapai with the Agudah parties, the Progressives and the General Zionists.

A coalition of religious groups with Herut in the Jerusalem Council, which will give the capital an Orthodox mayor for the next four years, emerged here tonight.

After lengthy negotiations between the National Religious party and Agudat Israel, the latter decided to abandon Mapai and accept Herut’s offer of support. The agreement reportedly provides for a rotating mayor ship in which the Mizrachi Council member Ernest Nebenzahl would serve two years with Moshe Porush of the Agudat Israel serving the other two years.

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