Israel's Right-wing Nationalist Gahal Party... the country's second largest...voted in the early hours of Tuesday?
Israel's Right-wing Nationalist Gahal Party... the country's second largest...voted in the early hours of Tuesday (August 4) to leave the Coalition Government, following the Cabinet's acceptance of the U.S. proposals for the Middle East.
The split in Israel's 3-year-old National Unity Coalition Government, formed on the eve of the Six-day War, came after a stormy meeting of the Central Committee of the Gahal Party which began the night before.
While students outside the Central Committee building engaged in their own struggle to decide whether or not to support a defection by the Gahal Party, the Party members inside were riding out a stormy 8-hour debate on the issue.
In an emotional speech to the Committee, Party leader Menahem Begin....former head of the Anti-British Irgun Movement during the mandate... called the Government a "Government of National Surrender to Middle-East Munish." Later the meeting turned into uproar with members nearly coming to blows, but the basic objection to the U.S. proposal nevertheless remained clear.......the implicit idea of withdrawal from "Occupied" territory. This contradicts the Party's platform which claims the territory as the "historic" land of Israel.
When the proposal to withdraw from the Coalition Government was put to the vote it was won by 117 votes to 112.... a very slender majority which has caused some political observers to speculate that more Liberal members of the Gahal Party may yet split from the group.
The party withdrawal still leaves Prime Minister Golda Meir with a majority of 78 in the 120-member Knesset (Parliament). Mrs Meir called a meeting of the Special Ministerial Committee on Tuesday afternoon (August 4) to complete the formulation of Israel's reply to the American initiative.
Under Israeli law Mrs Meir now assumes the Ministries held until now by members of the Gahal Party. They are the Ministries of Development, Transport, Commerce & Industry, and Posts. Gahal also had two Ministers without portfolio including Party Leader Menahem Begin.
After the socially-convened meeting of the Ministerial Committee, Mrs Meir addressed the Knesset on Israel's policy in the light of the new Peace Plan which has also been accepted by Egypt and Jordan. The Knesset voted overwhelmingly in support of the proposal.