Fourteen veteran Knesset members, each of whom has served more than two terms, were assured spots on the Labor Party’s election list at a meeting of the Central Committee. Two others were dropped because they failed to win 60 percent of the committee’s 1,100 votes.
The balloting was conducted under a party regulation adopted before the 1981 elections. It requires the Central Committee to confirm by at least a 60 percent majority, any Knesset member who wishes to stand for re-election after having had two terms in the house. In 1981, all of the veterans were confirmed.
The rule is controversial. While the intention is to bring new blood and new faces into the Knesset’s senior ranks, opponents claim the regulation deprives the party of some of its most experienced parliamentarians. Some critics contend that it is unfair to allow the Central Committee to decide because many committee members have a vested interest in young politicians on the rise.
SOME VETERANS ASSURED OF ELECTION
Nevertheless, the Central Committee, at its meeting here Thursday night, assured that some of Labor’s best known and most respected figures will be on the ballot for the July 23 elections. The oldest and most experienced in terms of Knesset service is former Foreign Minister Abba Eban, who at 69 has had seven
The two-termers who failed to make the election list are Yehezkel Zakkai and Tamar Eshel.
Apart from their own election list, the Laborites seemed most concerned with the outcome of the Herut Central Committee meeting, in Jerusalem last week where former Defense Minister Ariel Sharon scored a stunning upset in his challenge to the leadership of Premier Yitzhak Shamir.
Sharon emerged from that contest with 41 percent of the vote to 59 percent for Shamir. Although Shamir will head the Likud list on July 23, Sharon seems assured of a powerful position in the top levels of Likud and a senior Cabinet post if Likud heads the next government. Labor politicians are wondering how this will effect the upcoming compaign.
Some Central Committee members saw Sharon’s resurgence as the sign of a shift to the right and predicted an ugly election campaign. Others suggested that Shamir’s apparent weakness within his own party would ease Labor’s road to victory.
Before the balloting began, the Central Committee unanimously approved Yisrael Kessar to be the new Secretary General of Histadrut, succeeding Yeruham Meshel who announced his resignation last week.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.