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The standoff for the Labor Party's leadership continued Sunday night as some 1,500 people attended a rally in support of former prime minister Ehud Barak, under the banner, "Barak will return our security."
"We all understand how difficult the security situation is in this country. We understand that the country is also in social, moral and legal predicaments," said Barak. "We stand before challenges such as the state hasn't seen since the Six Day War."
Barak proclaimed that he was determined to assist the country in its time of need. "This country's people are socially conscious and are fearful for their future. They need a strong leadership that understands the enormity of the task ahead."
Barak recently received the support of several Labor MKs, including party secretary Eitan Cabel.
Cabel's endorsement, coming on the heels of support from ministers Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, Shalom Simhon and Isaac Herzog, as well as that of influential Knesset members Matan Vilna'i and Orit Noked, have transformed Barak, who even at the peak of his political career was always an outsider within Labor, into the party establishment's official candidate.
The other front-running candidate, MK Ami Ayalon, has already promised that should he win the party leadership race, he "will have some tough questions for Ehud Olmert" before deciding whether to keep Labor in the coalition.
Barak, on the other hand, has pledged to get straight to work as defense minister, and not to waste any time on party politics.