Barak lauds gov't in 1st interview since unity

Defense minister defends Mofaz against accusations of "flip-flopping," saying state issues are far more important.

Ehud Barak at Independence press conference 370 (photo credit: Ricardo Mallaco)
Ehud Barak at Independence press conference 370
(photo credit: Ricardo Mallaco)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak praised the new coalition Monday morning, in the first media interview he has given since the establishment of the national unity government. The Independence party leader told Army Radio that he has been a proponent of such a move over the last three years, and that he believed it would create a stronger government.
Barak responded to rumors that he had helped mediate the unity deal, saying that the credit goes to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz, but that he is pleased if he managed to contribute.
Addressing accusations that Mofaz has made a U-turn after calling Netanyahu a liar and repeatedly slamming him in the past, Barak said that there have been many cases of stormy relations between politicians in the past, and "at the end of the day we have a state to run." He referred to the old rivalry between President Shimon Peres and late-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin "who finally joined hands," and pointed to former-prime ministers David Ben-Gurion and Menachem Begin as another example. "These are adults, not children in a kindergarten that cannot sit next to each other," he said.
The defense minister said that there are more important issues to address than what was said between politicians, such as finding an alternative to the Tal Law. He expressed faith that a new law would be passed that would create a situation where the majority of haredim (ultra-Orthodox) and Israeli Arabs would do national service.