Faced with a rebellion both within his own party and among potential coalition partners, Menachem Begin agreed today to have his Likud Party reconsider his choice of Moshe Dayan as foreign minister.
Begin called a meeting of leaders of the five-faction Likud Party of Sunday to discuss his appointment of the controversial former defense minister.
Dayan said on television tonight that he has no intention of quitting but that he would abide by the decision of the party. Likud has asked him to be foreign minister, he said, and it was up to Likud to keep him or drop him.
Begin still supports Dayan and, unless the political storm intensifies, the revolt within Likud is not likely to succeed. But the trouble Begin is having underlines the difficulties the Rightist Likud Party will have in trying to form a stable government.
While a number of Likud factions and potential coalition partners wanted the position of foreign minister themselves, the naming of Dayan, 62, has also raised opposition among those who fear that he may be groomed as a successor of Begin. Begin, 64, suffered a heart attack two months ago and was hospitalized again earlier this week for observation.
The appointment of Dayan and policy statements Begin has made since Likud upset the long-dominant Labor Party in elecions 10 days ago have been so sever that Israeli politics are now in a state of utter disarray.
The problems of forming a new government are compounded by a pro-found worry over the drift of Israeli-American relations - a worry that began long before the election but that is becoming worse now that Israel is drifting leaderless.
There is a sense of urgency here to get a government formed and operating but a return to the vital issues of peace and war will have to wait until the present political jumble sorts itself out.
Some political chaos is expected after an Israeli election as parties bargain over who gets what in a coalition government. But his is the first time power has been transferred from one party to another in Israeli.
Israel has been in a political limbo since December, when Yitzhak Rabin's labor-led coalition lost its parliamentary majority and elections were called for May. Then a financial scandal removed Rabin from the leadership of his party.
The absence of an elected government has left Israel at a disadvantage in dealing with new develpments in its relation with the United States.
Official Israeli sources expressed astonishment at remarks by President Carter yesterday that peace appeared to add compensation for the Palestinians to the list of peace demands. The digging up this demand, contained in 1947 and 1948 U.N. discussions but not recently pressed by the Arabs, puzzles Israelis and the transitional Foreign Ministry has asked the Israeli embassy in Washington to seek clarification.
Besides the revolt in his own party, the situation between Begin and his potential coalition partners continues to worsen.
Yesterday, the leader of the right-wing National Religious Party, Yosef Burg, applauded the Dayan appointment but now other leaders of the party want to review the matter before the party meets again with Likud to continue coalition bargaining.
The situation with Yigael Yadin's Democratic Movement for Change, which finished third in the elections, is more serious.
The centrist Democratice Movement has broken off all negotiations with Likud until all agreements between Dayan and Likud are rescinded.
Likud won 43 seats in the May 17 election. An alliance with the Democratic Movement, which won 15, and the National Religious Party, which won 12, would create a ruling coalition with 70 seats in the 120-member Parliament.
Most of the trouble within Likud comes from its Liberal Party faction, which holds 16 of Likud's 43 seats. Begin's Herut faction holds 18.
Simcha Erlich, chairman of the Likud executive and No. 2 man in the party, today called Dayan to withdraw his candidacy. Erlich said he was asking Dayan to withdraw in view of the public outcry against his appointment, but a more probabale reason was pressure from within his own party.
Pro-Dayan forces within Likud said today that it would be grotesque to ask Dayan to withdraw now and that Begin could not accept such a challenge to his authority.
A good deal of the anti-Dayan mood is political but there are many who still hold him responsible for the early failures of the 1973 war.
Speculation continues that Begin wants Dayan not only for his international prestige but to be his political heir as well.
Begin suffered a heart attack before the election and there are doubt as to how long he could stand the stress of the prime minister's office. The fact that Begin felt it necessary to go outside his own party to fill such an important post points to the paucity of experienced leadership within Likud.
The No. 2 man in Likud, Erlich, 62, came up through the political ranks first as a member of the Tel Aviv municipal council and them, in 1962, as deputy mayor.