Chances for a stable and broad-based government in Israel were considerably enchanced to day by the decision of Yigael Yadin's Democratic Movement for Change to resume coalition negotiations with Menachem Begin's Likud Party.
The resumption of talks, broken off late last week following Begin's controversial nomination of Moshe Dayan to be minister of foreign affairs, increases the chances that the relatively dovish Democratic Movement will be able to dilute the more extreme position on territorial concessions that Begin and Likud hold.
Although there are weeks of negotiations and political horsetrading ahead, and perhaps setbacks and new surprises, leaders of both the Democratic Movement and Likud were optimistic tonight that their differences could be bridged.
The resumption of talks came as a result of a compromise formulated by Begin that in effect postpones the Dayan appointment while still preserving Begin's right to nominate whomever he pleases. Under the compromise, all ministerial appointments will have to be approved by the coalition, once it is formed.
Meanwhile, Israeli Foreign Minister Yigal Allon called in U.S. Ambassador Samuel Lewis today to express Israel's concern over recent statements on the Middle East by President Carter. Allon said that recent American statements contained elements that were not expressed in U.S. security Council resolutions 242 and 338 - the two resolutions on which prospective peace negotiations have generally been based.
Allon was reportedly referring to President Carter's recent remarks incorrectly linking a Palestinian homeland and compensation for Arabs who had lost their land in what is now Israel to Security Council resolutions.
Allon said that the positions taken by the Americans would encourage the Arabs to adopt extreme positions even before negotiations had begun.
Calling in the U.S. ambassador was seen here as evidence that Israel is no longer prepared to ignore what it considers objectionable statements from the Carter administration. During the months leading up to the recent general election the tendency was to play down disagreements with the United States.
The fact that the objections to the Carter administration's statements were coming from the caretaker Labor government, not the more hawkish Likud government-elect, was interpreted as implying a consensus among all political parties - with the exception of the Communists - against a return to 1967 borders and against an independent Palestinian state between Israel and Jordan.
Yadin's acceptance of the the compromise with Begin opens the way for a coalition of Likud, the Democratic Movement and the National Religious Party with smaller religious parties free to join if they wish.
Such a coalition would avoid the danger of a narrow-based coalition of right-wing and ultra-Orthodox parties that would have a majority of only two or three seats. In such a narrow coalition, undue influence would flow to the tiny religious parties, which could make or break the government. The result would be "an unprecedented measure of religious coercion," the independent newspaper Haartz warned yesterday.
Including the Democratic Movement in a coalition would also provide the new Israeli government with badly needed administrative talent.
Likud's total number of parliamentary seats rose to 45 yesterday when Ariel Sharon, a founder of Likud who ran on a separate ticket in the election, rejoined the party and brought two seats with him. The Democratic Movement has 15 seats and the National Religion Party 12 in the 120-seat parliament.