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March 04, 1977 - Image 53

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1977-03-04

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Friday, March 4, 1977 53

Israeli Political Parties Consolidating Positions
as Pre-Election Pressure Continues to Increase


The Peres people won
and strong.
rael's political factions their first victory last united
reportedly, is
have been concentrating - Thursday night when the re-writing
its election
on internal matters dur- party's nominating com- platform to eliminate such
ing the past week. Their mittee convened to elect blunt statements as
aim is to project at least one-third of the delegates "Palestine will not be di-
the appearance of party to the new Central Com- vided anymore." It is also
unity and to develop mittee which consists of adding a plank that states
coherent positions on 816 members compared to that
a Likud-led govern-
major domestic and 601 on the old committee. ment would
go to Geneva
foreign policy issues that
The other two-thirds and support all efforts to
will give the voters a are elected by the various prevent a new war and di-
choice when they go to district branches. But the rect negotiations for peace
the polls May 17.
Peres group was given 50 treaties without pre-
- The big problem for the percent of the delegates conditions
and without
".bof Party is to assure appointed by the outside interference.
t race between the sup
nominating committee,
The platform reiterates
porters of Premier Yit- which put them on an Likud's position that the
zhak Rabin and those equal basis with the
who backed his chal- Rabin group. They ..ap- Judaea-Samaria
remain permanently
lenger, Defense Minister peared to be satisfied.
under Israel's sovereign-
Shimon Peres, at the con-
Nonetheless, Peres ty. But political
vention last week.
warned last, Friday that observers detect a certain
The Independent Lib- he would protect his sup- softening of language
eral Party, which opened porters from possible re- which they say indicates
its convention Sunday, prisals for having backed a slight concession by the"
faces the problem of sur- him against Rabin. He militant Herut faction to
vival as a party. Likud is implied that he would re- the more moderate Lib-
trying to soften its fuse to stand for the erals.
hardline image, but not to Knesset on the Labor list
The Democratic Move-
a degree that would or participate in the next ment for Change was
alienate its hawkish con-. government unless Knes- thrown into an uproar by-
set seats were assured for a Washington Post story
Prof. Yigael Yadin's new representatives of the claiming
that Yadin had
Democratic Movement for younger generation and said he would prefer to
Change (DESH), which women and unless join a coalition with
some political pundits be- Cabinet portfolios were Labor. A spokesman for -
lieve will give Labor its offered to his most prom- the movement said the
most serious opposition on inent supporters, Gad report was erroneous. He
election day, has defined Yaacobi, Abba Eban and said the DESH was pre-
the terms under which it Yitzhak Navon.
pared to join either Labor
would join a coalition gov-
Some Peres supporters
Likud on three condi-
ernment with either Labor also demanded that Rabin of
or Likud.
retain Peres as Defense
These were a pledge for
The dramatic focus is Minister in the next gov- election reforms; an un-
on Labor, the biggest ernment and- award him dertaking to establish
party, which heads the the additional post of De- government ministries to
care-taker government. puty Premier, now held by deal with existing prob-
Its convention chose to Foreign Minister Yigal Al- lems instead of creating
retain Rabin as leader, Ion. These demands were portfolios to pay off party
but only by the barest of advanced again Mondayby obligations; and top prior-
margins. It went on to Peres supporters in
ity for measures to close
adopt a controversial meeting between them and Israel's social gap.
platform plank by an Rabin supporters.
Opposition leaders al-
equally slim margin, em-
However, Rabin said at ready are claiming that
phasizing that on the is- a press conference after
sues of leadership and his victory - that he in-
foreign policy the Labor tended to include Peres in
Party is split down the his next Cabinet ,with an
"important" portfolio. It was strange to hear
It has, in fact, coalesced But he refused to commit Moshe Rivlin talking
from three factions — himself . as to which Zionism. At the helm of
Mapai, Rafi and Akhdut portfolio will be entrusted the Zionist movement for
Haavoda — into two: the to Peres. The Defense nearly a dozen years as
Rabin camp and the Ministry which he now director general of the
Peres camp. The fact that heads is one of the senior Jewish Agency, Rivlin
the incumbent Rabin Cabinet posts and there has had little time for
could muster only a 41- are few others of equal talking. He made his
vote margin (out of some rank that he could fill.
mark as a doer, an
2,800 ballots cast) to edge
The almost 50-50 split achiever — a bitsuist. He
out Peres was symptoma- over. the party platform left the talking to the
tic of a dangerous clevage plank stating Israel's politicians.
that could come apart be- readiness for territorial
Rivlin is about to leave
fore election day.
concessions in "all sec- the Jewish Agency, now
Rabin and his followers tors" has alienated moving down the corridor
are doing their utmost to former Defense Minister to the office of chairman
avoid a split and the Moshe Dayan. Dayan, of the Jewish National
Peres backers are taking _ who led the opposition to Fund. He leaves on a low
full advantage of their the plank, said after its note, at a time of waning
strong position. When the adoption that he could aliya, of neshira (drop-
f.- nvention reconvened not campaign for Labor outs) as a seemingly per-
Thursday after its under • these cir- manent and irreversible
..fin-lactic vote last Wed- cumstances.
trend. He does not try to
nesday night, the. Peres
Rabin minimize these huge dis-
camp ; demanded equal hopes to include the In- appointments and the
representation with the dependent Liberal Party fundamental question
Rabin faction on all party in the next coalition gov- marks they pose to the
bodies, on the Knesset ernment. He and Presi- Zionist idea.
list, in the next Cabiriet dent Ephraim Katzir at-
On the contrary, he
and in such Labor- tended the ILP conven- stresses the atmosphere
dominated institutions as tion opening Sunday. of crisis, and throws
the Jewish Agency, the Rabin expressed appreci- down a demanding chal
Histadrut Executive and ation for the ILP's coop- lenge to the Zionist
the various local workers' eration in the past and movement and to broader
said he looked forward to echelons of Jewish 'lead-
They are also insisting a continued relationship ership: "The entire rela-
that Uzi Bat-am, the vigor- in the future. Party sec- tionship between Israel
ous secretary of the 'par- retary Itzhak Barkai and the Jewish people ur-
ty's Jerusalem branch, be concvded, however, that gently needs a thorough
made Secretary General of the ILP was going reassessment."
the party when incumbent through a period of crisis.
After the elections in Is-
Meir Zarmi's term ends.
But he claimed it was now rael, he proposes, the new

Rabin's narrow victory
amounts to a repudiation
by the Labor Party of its
own poliCies as executed
by Rabin. They also seem
to be convinced that Rabin
will be an easier candidate
to beat than Peres. The lat-
ter is an astute politician
and formidable speaker.
Rabin has come over
weakly in television de-
bates and Knesset duels.
He is a poor speaker,
awkward in repartee,
crude in political diatribe
and insensitive to audi-
ence reaction. On the
other hand, notwith-
standing his colorless
public image, even Ra-
bin's foes conceded that
he is a tough, intelligent
leader behind the scenes.
Whether he can lead his
party to victory in the
May elections will depend
on a number of factors. It
remains to be seen
whether Rabin — possi-
bly prompted by Golda
Meir — will demand re-
venge against those
Laborites who backed
There are many who
say the Labor Party is
worn out and has gone
stale after nearly 30
years as Israel's govern-
ing party. But the opposi-
tion must reckon with
Labor's remarkable re-
silience and its tremend-
ous appetite for power. If
the convention made .
anything clear, it was
that Labor is by no means
resigned to losing heavily
at the polls and will fight
tooth and nail to retain.
leadership of the gov-
Israeli pollsters have
been hard at work canvas-

sing the Israelis' political
preferences, and various
polls have been publicized.
But different polls tell dif-
ferent stories. On one
thing, however, they all
seem to agree: at this
point, slightly less than
three months before elec-
tion day, up to 50 percent
of the voters have not de-
cided which party to sup-
They are, instead, wait-
ing. and watching to see
how the Labor Party will
meet the challenges
ahead; the efforts of
Likud to modify its haw-
kiSh image; the birth
pangs of Prof. Yigael
Yadin's new Democratic
Movement for Change;
the threatened disinteg-
ration of the Independent
Liberal Party; the per-
sonal conflicts within the
National Religious Party;
the intensive but as yet
fruitless negotiations
among the left-of-center
groups to establish a
strong socialist party.
The voting public also
sees nightly on.television,
high-ranking military of-
ficers and senior civil ser
vants announcing their
resignations and proc-
laiming their devotion to
one or another political
faction. All of them would
like to sit in the next
Knesset. But the law re-
quires them to resign
from state service at least
100 days before elections.
If the polls show one
thing it is that the electo-
rate anticipates great
changes on May 17 and
the beginning of a new
political era for Israel.
But past experience in
politics shows that such

expectations may be an il-
lusion. The power struc-
ture in Israel is not lik€ly
to change.
In the meantime, three
new lists announced them-
selves as contenders for
Knesset seats.

One is a Woinen's List
marching under a
feminist banner. Another
is a loosely organized co-
alition of wives, mothers
and parents of soldiers
who think a new war can
be prevented only if Is-
rael refuses to withdraw
from - the administered
territories. The third rep-
resents 30,000 Holocaust
survivors who demand
better treatment and
higher compensation
from the government.

A fourth list has also
emerged, headed by
Yehoshua Peretz, former
boss of the Ashdod port
workers. He announced,
however, that he would
link up with the Black
Panthers to form a coali-
tion that speaks for the

Meanwhile, a promi-
nent Soviet Jewish
emigre, former Maj.
Grisha Feigiri of the Red
Army, announced that he
would stand for the Knes-
set on the Labor Party
list. Feigin* claimed to
have the support of at
least 50,000 Jewish im-
migrants from the Soviet
Union. It was also re-
ported that Tzofia Goren,-
wife of Ashkenazic Chief
Rabbi Shlomo Goren, may
seek a Knesset seat on the
National Religious Party
list as a representative of
religious women.

Rivlin Seeks Re-Evauation in Israel, More Young Olim

L 4111

go v
. ernment must, as a
matter of vital priority,
summon a council of all
ranking Jewish leaders to
conduct this reassess-
ment. To allow the situa-
tion to remain static, or de-
teriorate still further,
would be catastrophic for
Israel, he warns.

The severity of the
crisis, he says, is most
forcefully illustrated by
the fact that Jews in sev-
eral countries, who are on
the verge of packing up
and emigrating, are not
thinking of Israel as their
natural destination. This
applies to South African
Jews, Rhodesian Jews,
Latin American Jews,
and, of course, to so many
of those Jews who succeed

in escaping from the aliya, which is at the root of
Soviet Union.
the Zionist vision — a vis-
At the same time, says ion which Rivlin insists is
Rivlin, and perhaps as as valid today as ever' it
part of the same problem, was.
Israel is visibly losing its
The challenge, then, he
prestige and authority says, must be to levy a
among the established volunteer army of 50,000
Western Jewish com- young people, Israeli and
munities. Plainly, much Diaspora Jew's, who
of the fault lies with Is- would undertake to settle
rael itself, with facets of in the Galilee, to populate
Israeli society which are the Negev, to populate
familiar to Jews abroad Jerusalem and its envi-
and which frankly deter rons, and to live and work
or repel them. But to rec- in development towns.
ognize this, even to work
This kind 'of radical
to put right Israel's overhaul in Israel-
wrongs, is not a sufficient Diaspora relations, and in
solution to the' funda.- the role of Zionism in the
mental Israel-Diaspora 1980s would "cleanse the
crisis, says Rivlin.
atmosphere," he says,
"Israel needs a new both within the country
message, a new chal- and vis-a-vis the Dias-
lenge, a task to inspire pora.
young Jews abroad," he
"It is up to the next
government to make the
The Jewish state's dual move," he says.
tasks in the past have al-
ways been aliya and de-
fense: they may no longer
be sufficient to motivate
the Diaspora to action be-
PARIS (JTA) — Former
yond fund-raising. Nor can French Premier Pierre
Israel, Rivlin is convinced, Mendes France, one of
afford to resign itself to three Jews who served as
the present, static situa- Premier in the post-war
tion, if only for purely de- years, has been appointed
mographic reasons. And a commander in the
beyond demography, French Legion of Honor,
there is the need for the third highest rank in
Diaspora-Israel interac- France's prestigious na-
tion, based on ongoing tional order.

French Honor
Mendes France

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