Will former PM Barak rejoin Labor team?

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN, JPOST.COM STAFF
January 17, 2006 17:01
2 minute read.

Associates of Labor Chairman Amir Peretz are expected in the coming days to offer former prime minister Ehud Barak a spot on Peretz's ministerial list. According to estimates, Barak would not be offered a secured Knesset seat but rather a senior ministerial position, if Peretz forms, or joins, the next government. The primaries' big winner, MK Issac Herzog told Army Radio that Barak should be added to the list in order to upgrade its image in the eyes of the public. MK Ophir Paz-Pines, who came in second in the party race, also called on Peretz to include Barak in the "party's leadership." Barak, who works as a consultant for many American companies, did not vote in the primaries as he was in the United States. The former prime minsiter travels abroad frequently and often has to schedule trips months in advance. His aides said that he planned his current trip well in advance of when the Labor primary was set. Following his departure from the Labor leadership race, Barak decided not to run in the primary. Even in their boss's absence, Barak's loyalists in Labor made their presence felt, working on behalf of candidates close to Barak like his former aide Orna Angel and Israel's former consul-general in New York, Alon Pinkas. Thousands of Labor members who Barak brought into the party were asked to vote against candidates allied with Peretz and MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer. Pinkas said he was not bothered by Barak's absence. Ben-Eliezer's associates accused Barak of leaking to the press a story about a huge political deal between Peretz and Ben-Eliezer in order to harm Ben-Eliezer in the polls. Both Barak and Ben-Eliezer are interested in being the defense minister in the next government. "He might be abroad, but we feel him here working harking hard against us," a Ben-Eliezer associate said. "He is doing enough damage without even being here."


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