Photo: Reuters
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
Photo: Reuters
Photo: Niv Calderon
Defense Minister Amir Peretz
Photo: Niv Calderon
Labor party gets ‘perks’, stays in government
Olmert, Peretz decide on terms to keep Labor party in government
Following their meeting in Jerusalem Wednesday, an agreement was reached between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz. Israel Our Home was to join the government and the Labor faction was to receive ‘perks’ as an incentive to remain in the coalition.


The labor faction was to have the position of deputy defense minister as well as responsibility over the Ministerial Committee for the non-Jewish sector. The issue of welfare was raised in the meeting, however has yet to be agreed on.


The government's new deputy defense minister would be the party’s current chairman, MK Ephraim Sneh. Peretz would head the Ministerial Committee for the non-Jewish sector.


With regards to the welfare portfolio, it was agreed that if negotiations with the United Torah Judaism party were not successful in a reasonable amount of time, the Labor party would receive the portfolio in exchange for another one.


Labor to convene Sunday

Olmert and Peretz also agreed that the government would run according to its basic guidelines and coalition agreements, and that the addition of Israel Our Home would not change or damage the guidelines and agreements.


Also, it was agreed that the defense minister’s authorities would not be undermined and that the Labor party’s position as a senior partner of the coalition would be preserved.


Meretz Chairman Yossi Beilin called for a split in the Labor party. "All Labor Knesset members who are not willing to sell their soul in exchange for power, must leave the party that, at this very moment, is ending its historic role."


Beilin appealed to Labor MK’s "to make a concentrated effort to create a base for the ideas of peace and social justice that were betrayed by the Labor party, and fight against the right-wing government that torpedoes all efforts at dialogue with our neighbors." In the upcoming days, Beilin is scheduled to meet with MK’s opposed to the addition of Israel Our Home to the coalition. 


Olmert required Peretz to publicly announce his support of keeping the Labor party in the government. In the meantime, a government meeting regarding Lieberman’s appointment as minister Wednesday was postponed.


The prime minister’s office reported that the issue was “a minute away from closing” and that the final details of the agreement would be decided on by the end of the day.


The Labor Central Committee was expected to convene on Sunday and its members were leaning towards approving the party remaining in the coalition.


פרסום ראשון: 10.25.06, 15:18
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