Israel's two major political blocs, deadlocked in their efforts to form a joint government of national unity, today returned to seeking support from uncommitted minority parties in an attempt to form a narrower ruling coalition.
Labor Alignment leader Shimon Peres met with leaders of the National Religious Party, which holds four seats in the 120-member parliament. Other Labor officials reportedly met with legislators from other religious-oriented parties, including the two-seat Morasha and Agudat Yisrael parties and the one-seat Tami.
National Religious Party leaders also met later with Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir of the Likud bloc.
No details were disclosed from these talks but sources said each side is engaged in a political bidding war to lure the smaller parties.
Labor needs to attract seven votes from these parties to reach the 61 required for a parliamentary majority. But even the addition of one vote would give it enough to form a minority government with the tacit help of the two leftist parties.
Peres and Shamir appeared to harden their opposing stands in interviews today with Israeli radio. Peres accused the Likud of injecting new demands at the last minute. Shamir denied Labor charges he reneged on a commitment to accept Peres' plan for rotating the premiership and for dividing Cabinet posts.