Barak asks Ayalon to join cabinet

Labor Chairman Ehud Barak and his ally, Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon, visited MK Ami Ayalon at his home over the weekend and asked him to join the cabinet, Barak's associates said Tuesday, confirming a Channel 2 report. Barak wants Ayalon to fill a cabinet vacancy in Labor as a minister-without-portfolio in charge of rehabilitating the home front after last year's Second Lebanon War. Representatives of Barak and Ayalon have been negotiating an agreement between the two men. Ayalon told The Jerusalem Post two months ago that a new ministry was not needed and he would only join the government if security and diplomatic developments warranted it.