Netanyahu and Barak shake hands 248.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozlimski [file])
"What Israel needs is a broad unity government," Labor chairman Ehud Barak said Friday evening, in an interview to Channel 2. "A narrow right-wing coalition is trouble."
Barak expressed frustration with the negative response within his party to his talks with Prime Minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu.
"It's righteous anger," he said. "The elections pointed us towards the opposition, but the obsession with going to the opposition and the decisive attempt to prevent any dialogue at any cost are unclear to me, and seem odd."
At a rally in Ramat Efal Thursday, Labor ministers, MKs and top activists sent a clear message to Barak that if he wished to remain party leader, he must stay out of Netanyahu's government.
Some 200 activists packed the auditorium and shouted down anyone who dared to speak in favor of joining the next coalition. Ministers Yuli Tamir and Ghaleb Majadle and MKs Eitan Cabel, Ophir Paz-Pines and Shelly Yacimovich spoke at the event.
In his interview with Channel 2, Barak dismissed the possibility that he may stay on board as Netanyahu's defense minister, even at the cost of leaving Labor.
But he stressed that Labor would definitely not join Netanyahu's coalition if Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann remains in his position.
"We won't allow [Israel Beiteinu chairman Avigdor] Lieberman to decide who heads the Justice department," he said.
Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.