Barak smiles at cabinet meeting 248.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Labor is torn over chairman Ehud Barak's proposal to join Prime Minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu's government, and the issue has divided the kibbutzim and moshavim sectors within the party as well.
The Labor Central Committee will convene Tuesday evening in Tel Aviv to vote on whether to join Netanyahu's coalition. Following predictions that Barak would leave his position if the committee rejects the proposal, Barak said on Sunday that he would stay in the party in any case.
The party's kibbutzim and moshavim camps are split on the issue.
The MK who represents the moshavim, Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon, has already said he supports joining the next government. Eitan Ben-David, the moshavim sector's general secretary, has backed him, saying on Sunday that the responsible thing for Labor to do would be to join the coalition.
"We must join the government. We can't ignore Netanyahu, who is crying for help," Ben-David said Sunday. "In the recent general elections, no party really won, and I think it would be much easier to escape to the opposition, to shirk any kind of responsibility and to let the country collapse."
In the meantime, the party's kibbutzim sector will convene on Tuesday at 2 p.m., ahead of the committee meeting, for a vote on Barak's proposal.
Ze'ev Shor, the general secretary of the kibbutzim sector, said on Sunday that he was certain the kibbutzim delegates in Labor - more than 200 of them - would vote against joining Netanyahu's government.
"A month ago we voted on this issue, and the decision was to go to the opposition," Shor said. "On Tuesday afternoon, I am certain we will ratify this decision again. I think Barak is making a mistake. This is what happens to those who are convinced by portfolios and appointments."
However, a source close to Barak said Shor's statements were disconnected from reality.
Meanwhile, the kibbutzim representative in Labor, MK Orit Noked, said it was hard for her to believe that the kibbutz representatives would vote against Barak's initiative.
"I can only say that I will support any decision the Labor Central Committee reaches. It's a pity we have reached a situation in which we have camps inside the party," she said.