Israel: One Crisis Too Many

An unlikely issue proves perilous for Begin's government

No one put it better than Prime Minister Menachem Begin. "We are not talking about teachers," he said after yet another acrimonious political showdown. "We are talking about the survival of the government." So indeed was everyone else in Israel last week, as Begin's tattered coalition hinged its fate on the outcome of a crucial Cabinet meeting that might well bring down his government.

The specific issue involved a proposed pay raise for the country's 65,000 schoolteachers. But what was really at stake was Begin's—and...

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