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Labor, Mapam Cabinet Ministers Critical of New Settlement

May 31, 1972
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Cabinet has confirmed plans to build 200 new apartments in Kiryat Arba, the new Jewish settlement overlooking Hebron in Israeli occupied Jordan. Two hundred and fifty new units have already been built in the settlement and occupied. Confirmation of the plans for the additional apartments was considered a mere formality since they had been previously announced in the Knesset. Nevertheless, confirmation of the project was opposed by Mapam Minister Nathan Peled and a majority of Labor Party ministers abstained during the vote on the matter.

Peled, who is Minister of Absorption, had charged that settling in Hebron closes options for peace. He also argued that money is more urgently needed for immigrant absorption. The Labor Party Cabinet members who abstained were Foreign Minister Abba Eban, Finance Minister Pinhas Sapir, Housing Minister Zev Sharef and Minister of the Interior Yaacov Shapiro.

There was no clear indication as to why the four ministers abstained, but sources close to Sapir said that while be favors the project in principle, he feels that present priorities lie elsewhere. Prime Minister Golda Meir and Agriculture and Development Minister Haim Gvati voted for the additional housing.

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