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Weizman Spells out the Position of His New Party

May 18, 1984
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Former Defense Minister Ezer Weizman spelled out the positions of his new Yahad (Together) Party on key issues today, the most serious of which, he stressed, is to rescue Israel from economic disaster. Addressing the Foreign Press Association here, Weizman maintained that neither Likud nor the Labor Alignment can win sufficient votes in the July 23 elections to govern alone.

His party, which he believes can win up to 20 Knesset mandates, would provide the crucial extra weight that would allow either of the major political parties to form a strong, stable government. It would give them the philosophy and direction to get the country “back on its tracks again,” Weizman said.

Weizman, who quit Likud several years ago over policy differences with Premier Menachem Begin, charged that Likud has failed in the economic field. Any future government, he said, would have to amend the tax structure and encourage people to work.

Weizman’s political program, as outlined today, is a departure from the traditional Herut policy. Israel must learn to live with its Arab residents and its Arab neighbors, Weizman said, and toward that end he said he was ready to talk to any and all Arab leaders, with out prior conditions, to achieve peace. “Even (PLO chief Yasir) Arafat if he were to abandon his Palestine convenant which calls for the destruction of Israel,” Weizman said.

He maintained that Israel must get out of Lebanon as soon as possible. He said he had always opposed the conduct of the war in Lebanon. While there might have been justfication to invade south Lebanon up to the 45 kilometer line in June, 1982, Israel made a grave mistake by thinking it could impose a regime to its liking on a neighboring country, he said.

Weizman believes Israel should recognize that Syria has legitimate interests in Lebanon and an Israeli withdrawal should not be made contingent on a Syrian withdrawal. The Syrians probably will not withdraw, but they have always in the past recognized the “red lines” beyond which they would not move and it is possible to reach an unofficial agreement with Damascus, he said.


According to Weizman, the settlements on the West Bank no longer serve any security purpose “and we might even have to send troops to defend them in case of war.”No new settlements should be built, though the existing ones could be strengthened, he said. He said that grandiose plans such as building a railroad line to Eilat should be abandoned while the government struggles to put its economic house in order.

Weizman said that while economic problems have top priority on his party’s platform, its basic aim, as its name, Yahad implies, is the unity of all Israelis, “secular and Orthodox Jews, Ashkenazim and Sephardim.” He added, “There is lack of faith in government here at present. We must restore that confidence.”

Weizman disclosed that he had “tried to topple the Likud government” at the time of the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps massacre in September. 1982, by talking to the Liberal Party elements in Likud. But nothing came of it at the time. He did not mention reports today that he is again talking to Liberal Party leaders about the possibility of joining forces in a new liberal centrist party.

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