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Mapai Offers Four Portfolios to Liberals in Israel Coalition Cabinet

October 17, 1961
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Finance Minister Levi Eshkol, in renewed efforts to form a new Government coalition under his mandate from President Izhak Ben-Zvi, met with leaders of the Liberal party today and was believed to have offered them four portfolios–the Ministries of Justice, Development, Transport and Posts.

It was also believed that Mr. Eshkol’s Mapai party might be ready to offer the Liberals the Ministry of Education portfolio instead of the Ministry of Transport or Posts. If Mapai and the Liberals come to agreement, the coalition Cabinet would also include the National Religious party.

Mr. Eshkol also reportedly expressed his party’s readiness to meet some of the Liberals’ demands about supervision of the Defense Ministry by the establishment of a special Ministerial Committee for Defense. The Finance Minister was also believed to have offered compromise solutions about other Liberal demands in the fields of health and economy. In earlier talks, the Liberals had demanded, among other things, that they receive the Ministry of Commerce and Industry portfolio.

It was also learned today that the National Religious party, which has been assured of three portfolios–the Ministries of Religious Affairs, Interior and Social Welfare–is now demanding a fourth portfolio. Their latest demand is based on the argument that Mapai, which lost six seats in the recent Knesset elections, should relinquish one portfolio in the Cabinet. This would still leave Mapai with a Cabinet majority.

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