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Labor Alignment Doves Join Non-aligned Leftists and Liberals to Form a New Group to Counter Alignmen

January 5, 1982
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Labor Alignment doves, concerned by what they see as a drift to the right within the party, have joined with non-aligned leftist and liberal elements to form a group to counter that trend. It is called “Ometz” which means courage and is an acronym for political Zionist opposition that could emerge eventually as a new political faction. It was promptly dismissed by Labor Party chairman Shimon Peres as of no importance. But Peres said he would wait and see if it turned into a political party before reacting. He indicated that he had no objections to a philosophical study group within Labor ranks but warned against political action that might split the Labor movement.

But Yossi Sarid, a doveish Labor MK, told a press conference yesterday that Labor was already badly divided and confused and the new group was necessary because the Begin government is too dangerous to leave unopposed. He said the decision to form “Ometz” followed “the shameful behavior of the Labor Party over the Golan bill.”

Sarid was referring to the Labor MKs who voted in favor of the Likud-sponsored bill to apply Israeli law to the Golan Heights on December 14 despite a party decision to abstain.

Yair Zaban of Mapam told the press conference that too many Laborites were moving to the right because they interpreted Likud’s election victory last June as evidence that the electorate was moving to the right. “In the swamp of nationalism, clericalism and social conservatism, Begin is King,” Zaban said. Shulamit Aloni of the Civil Rights Movement said that in the present climate “Those who call themselves humanist Zionists or social democrats cannot get their views heard.”

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