"We entered the government with quite a few hesitations," he said. "Half a year later, there is no mistake: A narrow right-wing government, had it been established, would not have been able to pass the State Budget, the decision to make security equal to social and education issues."
Speaking at Labor Party ceremony ahead of the Jewish New Year, Defense Minister Barak elaborated on his party's contribution to the coalition. "We are trying to influence with a spirit of national responsibility and defending the State of Israel's interests," he said.
"I would like to address the peace process. I could not imagine a narrow right-wing government reaching a real, open, direct and sometimes painful dialogue with the members of other parties. We would not reach a situation in which Israel adopts the Road Map, going together with President Obama to a regional initiative, and attempting to reach an agreement with the Palestinians based on two states for two people."
He added that Labor's members in the government "maintain Israel's vital security interests," saying that "there is a superior interest to end the conflict from a position of self-confidence."
The defense minister said Israel was facing difficult challenges and important opportunities, and that decisions must be made.
"We are in favor of what is good for the country. Every time they ask me, 'What are you doing there?' I say, 'what is good for Israel.' Extending a hand to peace, and upholding a growing economy, the power of which makes it possible to extend a hand where it is needed."
According to Barak, his party is in the government in order to contribute to the State. "The Labor Party was throughout the way, since the days of David Ben-Gurion, a leader, due to its ability to see what is good for the State," he said.
He spoke of the need to be a centrist party: "We must be ready to make important decisions on every issue… I am convinced that our way will lead us back to the center."
'Unity very important'
The Labor chairman also spoke of the importance of unity in his party. He turned to the four "rebellious" Knesset members, who are seeking to split from the party.
"I call on Yuli (Tamir), Amir (Peretz), Ophir (Pines-Paz) and Eitan (Cabel) to return and work with us. Unity is very important for us. Alongside the freedom of thought, there must be freedom of action and the ability to make decisions. I want to take this opportunity to call on the foursome which is not working with us: Think about it again, come with us.
"At the end of the day, we need unity in our work… Without unity in our work we won't be able to rule this country again."
He went on to address his vision on how the Labor Party should work. "The moment we began devoting ourselves more and more to how things should be, we increasingly found ourselves in the deep Left. I am telling you, with all responsibility, that the Labor Party's future is with people who take responsibility, pay taxes. This is the foundation of the Labor Party.
"This is our way: To extend a hand to the weak, but we are leaning on the centrist stream of the Israeli society, with the young ones, the settlement, those who left, the Bedouins, the Druze. With them we will return to lead this country," Barak concluded.