Barak courts Pensioners MKs

MK Moshe Sharoni may split off from his party with two other MKs and join Labor.

moshe sharoni 224 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
moshe sharoni 224 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Labor's Knesset faction will increase from 19 to 22 MKs in the spring if Labor chairman Ehud Barak has his way. MK Moshe Sharoni, Gil Pensioners' recently demoted faction chairman, revealed Monday that he has held talks with Barak about splitting off from his party with two other MKs and joining Labor. Sharoni announced after a high-profile fight inside Gil Pensioners two months ago that he would leave the faction along with MKs Elhanan Glazer and Sarah Marom-Shalev. He said he would wait until March to split the faction. Half the Knesset term will be complete by then and MKs who make up a third of a faction will be legally permitted to take lucrative party funding with them to a different party. In closed conversations, Sharoni said he had received offers from at least three parties, but was leaning toward Labor, which he once belonged to. He said he would form a new party that would run together with Labor in the next election. The Likud and Israel Beiteinu are also believed to be courting the disgruntled MKs. If they joined Israel Beiteinu, the faction would be larger than the Likud and Avigdor Lieberman would replace Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu as opposition leader if he left the government. But Sharoni said he was not interested in Israel Beiteinu because he considered it a sectarian party. Gil Pensioners chairman Rafi Eitan said he was trying to settle the dispute and was confident he would succeed in preventing a split. But he said he would not be surprised if Sharoni ended up in Labor. "If he joins Labor it would be natural because he came from Labor," Eitan said. "I am a man who is not hurt by anything." One of Barak's associates said, "The Labor chairman meets with MKs from every faction and no meeting has been set with Sharoni."