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(photo credit: Channel 2)
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon added Education Ministry Director-General Ronit Tirosh to his roster on Wednesday, after meeting with her on Tuesday night.
Sharon's associates said Tirosh had a tough decision to make about whether to risk her career to enter politics. Sharon informed her that she could not become education minister, a post already promised to Interdisciplinary Center president Prof. Uriel Reichman. However, Army Radio reported that she was slated for a position as deputy minister of education.
Prior to her meeting with Sharon, Tirosh met with Education Minister Limor Livnat, who gave her an ultimatum that she would have to quit her post if she did not announce publicly that she didn't intend to enter politics. Tirosh was expected to resign from her post in the Education Ministry in the next few days, to allow for an interval between her professional and political positions.
"There is no room for mixing politics and professional work," Livnat told Tirosh. "You have done great work but the educational system cannot be politicized." Sources close to Livnat said that she felt betrayed. Livnat had developed Tirosh, who had negotiated with Sharon behind her back. "It's legitimate for her to go into politics but not in a way that undermines the minister," a Livnat associate said.
Sharon's associates called Livnat's threat "political bullying."
Former education minister MK Yossi Sarid (Meretz) criticized Ronit Tirosh. "[She] was Livnat's senior and loyal partner in the destruction of the educational system. It is therefore no wonder that she is expecting a promotion," he jabbed.
Sarid was one of Livnat and Tirosh's most hostile opponents, driving the director general to tears during a confrontation over the implementation of the controversial Dovrat reform plan, and the termination of teachers for which it called.