To the Editors of The Crimson:
Shmuel Harlap's letter (Jan. 24) conveys a completely distorted view of the political atmosphere in Israel. Either Mr. Harlap is misinformed or he wishes to misinform the Harvard community about popular sentiments in Israel. His views represent neither the majority view in Israel, nor the views of the average Labour voter, but merely the hopes of those on the far left. He claims that the shift of six or so seats from Labour to Likud in the last election is "due to Golda's continuation as Labour's No. 1 rather than because the Israeli voter has shifted in any respects to the Right." This shows a complete misunderstanding of the situation.
In the weeks before the election Israelis were well aware that the dovish wing of the Labour party wanted to expel Dayan and Golda after the election. This disturbed many Israelis, and the subsequent gain in Likud's strength made such a move out of the question. Nevertheless, Mr. Harlap predicts the expulsion of Dayan in a few months. If Dayan is forced to leave the labour coalition, he will be followed by the other 10 members of the Rafi faction. Mr. Harlap does not realize that the major change in the Eighth Knesset, as Manachim Begin put it, is that "there is now a majority against the re-partition of the western half of the land of Israel." When the issue of territorial concessions to Jordan comes up, Likud (39 seats), Rafi (10), and Religious parties (15) would have the majority in the Knesset to force the government to fall.
Thus the votes for Likud strengthened Golda and Dayan in the Labour party, because the doves now need the seats Dayan controls in order to stay in power. Mr. Harlap is technically correct in denying a large shift to the right since Likud didn't get enough seats to form a government. The significance of the rise in Likud's strength, however, is the preclusion of the possibility of a shift to the left at the expense of Dayan and Golda. Michael Segal