Meir Resigns Unexpectedly As Israeli Prime Minister

Golda Meir, premier of Israel since 1969, resigned yesterday as head of the Israeli government.

Meir made the announcement at a closed meeting of her executive, or governing council, Shimon Peres, Israeli transport minister, said yesterday. Peres said that Meir gave no detailed reason for her resignation. He said she implied the reason was "the half-hearted reception" for her plans to form a minority government.

Neither Meir's Labor party, nor ministers of the present cabinet indicated who might take over as premier.

The Labor Party has been under political fire since the December 31 elections, when the party lost five parliament seats. The party also received heavy public criticism for the lack of preparation for the Arab attack in September of 1973 which led to heavy Israeli losses.

Last month, after repeated attempts to pull together a new coalition, Meir announced that because of opposition from the National Religious party--a traditional partner in all previous Israeli governments--she was forming the first minority cabinet in Israel's history. The new cabinet represented only 58 of the 120 parliamentary seats.


Two weeks ago, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan threw the Labor party into turmoil by refusing to join the new cabinet. Dayan's decision created a new crisis inside the Labor party and weakened the chance for a new government.

At yesterday's executive council meeting, Meir announced the formation of a new minority cabinet, with Yitzhak Rabin, former ambassador to Washington, replacing Dayan as defense minister.

Laborites Vote 'No'

More than 50 Laborites attended the session and 11 voted against the new cabinet. Following the vote, Meir said that she would not head the cabinet, Israel's state radio announced.

Among chief candidates to replace Meir as premier are: Dayan, Finance Minister Pinhas Sapir, Deputy Premier Yigal Allen, and foreign minister Abba Eban.