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June 9, 1981
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Moshe Dayan, the perennial maverick of Israeli politics, quit the Begin Cabinet in October, 1979. One of his proposals, which the Cabinet summarily rejected, was unilateral imposition of the autonomy scheme on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He would abolish the Military Government and withdraw the army to new positions ready to “spring back” at the first hint of terrorist activity in the making.

That, basically, is the major plank in the platform of Telem (National Renewal Movement) that Dayan formed in April after insisting, only a few months earlier, that he was finished with politics. He calls the movement an alternative to Labor or Likud but says it would join in coalition with any majority party that accepts its platform.

Political observers regard Telem as the 1981 version of the now defunct Democratic Movement for Change (DMC). Prof. Yigael Yadin’s “alternative” became the “spoiler” in the 1977 elections, robbing Labor of many disillusioned supporters and thereby contributing to the Likud victory. This year, Telem is expected to attract fewer Labor votes and draw more away from the pro-Likud “floating” vote.

When the new party was announced, early polls indicated it would win up to 19 Knesset seats, but recent polls however give it no more than 4-5 seats. Dayan admits he is interested only in the political plank. He is leaving economic matters to former Finance Minister Yigal Hurwitz, another defector from the Begin Cabinet, who joined Dayan’s movement after much soul-searching. Telem is very much Dayan’s party. It is well remembered that Dayan was originally a Laborite who served in several Labor governments as Defense Minister.

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