Vilna'i expected to be approved as China envoy

Homeland defense minister to be replaced in Knesset by former MK, who makes deal to leave Labor for Independence.

February 7, 2012 17:05
Matan Vilnai

Matan Vilnai 311. (photo credit: Yaakov Katz)

The Civil Service Commision on Tuesday chose Homeland Defense Minister Matan Vilna'i (Independence) as its pick to become Israel's next ambassador to China.

If approved by the cabinet as expected, Vilna'i would be replaced in the Knesset by former MK Shakeed Shanan on the Labor list. The Independence Party announced Tuesday that they had worked out a deal with Shanan, whereby he will break off from Labor in order to join them.

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Defense Minister and Independence Party leader Ehud Barak on Tuesday released a statement praising Shanan and welcoming him to the Knesset.

"Shakeed Shanan is a serious person, I know him well, and I have no doubt that he will contribute a lot to the Independence Party," Barak stated.

The Labor Party condemned Shanan and Barak, accusing them of playing political tricks. "They are a pair that go together," a Labor spokesperson said. "Labor continues to rid itself of opportunistic hacks and by doing so strengthens itself as a party that is ideological and clean."

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