Israel's Prime Minister designate Menachem Begin said on thursday (9 June) he intends to form a Cabinet by June 20.
Israel's Prime Minister designate Menachem Begin said on thursday (9 June) he intends to form a Cabinet by June 20. Mr Begin made his prediction after fresh, but inconclusive talks with leaders of the Democratic Movement for Change (DMC) in an attempt to include the reformist group in a coalition with his'Likud group. An invitation to the defeated Labour Party to join a government of national unity was also rejected by Labour leader Shimon Peres.
SYNOPSIS: Archaeologist Yigael Yadin heads the DMC which holds 15 seats in the Israel Knesset, or parliament. He has told Mr Begin that he would make up his mind whether to join a coalition within a week. The two groups are opposed over the future of the occupied West Bank of Jordan, which Likud wants to remain in Israeli hands, while the DMC is prepared to compromise in exchange for peace with Arab states. A coalition between the DMC and the Likud, which holds the greatest number of seats, would ensure a strong position for Mr Begin.
Territorial concessions to the Arabs was also the main stumbling block when Mr Begin invited Labour leader Shimon Peres to help form a national unity government. Mr Begin re-iterated his firm views on holding the West Bank and refusing to sit down to talks with the Palestine Liberation Organisation. After the talks, however, Mr Peres said the best he could do would be to ensure a rapport between the government and his Labour opposition.