9 coalition MKs join event calling on PM to quit

"I am not a rebel," Tirosh said through her spokesman. "There was no political significance to my attendance."

Zeev Elkin 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Zeev Elkin 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A week before the January 30 publication of the Winograd Report, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government suffered a blow when nine coalition MKs attended an event at the Knesset at which reserve soldiers who fought in the Second Lebanon War called upon Olmert to quit. The MKs who attended were Avigdor Yitzhaki, Marina Solodkin, Ze'ev Elkin, Ronit Tirosh and Amira Dotan of Kadima; Ophir Paz-Pines and Danny Yatom of Labor; Pensioners Party MK Moshe Sharoni and Shas MK Avraham Michaeli. Yitzhaki, Solodkin, Elkin, Paz-Pines and Yatom all publicly called upon Olmert to quit following the publication of the interim Winograd report in April. Dotan also requested the prime minister's resignation, but she made a point of delivering her message in a private meeting with Olmert and not via the media. The presence of the other MKs at the event was more surprising. Sharoni said he only came at the end of the meeting and that he does not intend to decide whether Olmert should be forced to quit until after reading the report. Michaeli said he merely poked his head into the room to see what was happening there and when he saw MKs known for being rebels against Olmert, he left immediately. Tirosh said she came to the event to show support to the reserve soldiers, honoring a commitment she made to them after meeting with them a few days ago. "I am not a rebel," Tirosh said through her spokesman. "There was no political significance to my attendance." Army Radio revealed Wednesday that Olmert met on Monday with one of his fiercest critics and rivals in Kadima, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz. According to the report, Olmert used the meeting to try to quell Mofaz's opposition to him ahead of the Winograd's release. Mofaz's spokeswoman confirmed the meeting, saying that the two men met for more than two hours over dinner at the prime minister's official residence in Jerusalem's Rehavia neighborhood. Olmert's office did not comment on the meeting. Israel Beiteinu head Avigdor Lieberman, who resigned last week, told the radio station that he did not believe that Shas or Labor would follow him any time soon. He called upon the heads of the factions to join him in setting an agreed date for general elections. "Whoever thinks Shas will leave the coalition in the next few months has no idea where he is living," Lieberman said. "I know Barak. He will stay glued to his chair."