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Meshel Says Histadrut Ready to Talk to Govt. on Economic Differences

November 11, 1977
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The 23rd convention of Histadrut closed here late last night ending three days of acrimonious exchanges between Labor Alignment and Likud delegates that culminated in first-fights on the floor as ushers tried to push out unruly Likud supporters. Yeruham Meshel was re-elected to a second four-year term as Secretary General of the trade union federation. He said that Histadrut was ready to negotiate with the Likud government on their outstanding differences over its controversial new economic program.

But he demanded that Finance Minister Simcha Ehrlich waive all pre-conditions, chiefly his decision that only wage-earners in the lowest income brackets would receive compensation for the soaring living costs resulting from the government’s measures. Meshel said that Histadrut would be ready to compromise and would make no demands that could not be modified. A resolution adopted in the closing hours stated, however, that Histadrut does not accept the new economic program and empowers its newly elected 180-member executive to demand compensation for all workers.

More than 60 resolutions were adopted in the course of the evening, many of them over bitter protests from the Likud faction. But the Labor Alignment, represented by 841 delegates to Likud’s 429 had little difficulty passing what it wanted to The final uproar came after the convention turned down a Likud demand that it send greetings to Premier Menachem Begin’s government pledging support for its efforts toward a peace settlement. Likud noted that such resolutions were pro forma in the past when the government was headed by the Labor Alignment.

When their bid was defeated, pandemonium broke out in the Likud section. Delegates rose and shouted at the platform. Reinforced squads of ushers tried to clear the aisles and brawls erupted in several parts of the convention hall. The resolution finally adopted said: “The convention approves the continued efforts toward a lasting peace between Israel and its neighbors, with a possibility of territorial compromise with each of them. A peace agreement will be based on the existence of two states-Israel and Jerusalem its capital and an Arab state east of Israel. There will be no additional Palestinian state west of the Jordan.”

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