Peretz calls his civilian background 'advantage'

Defense Minister Amir Peretz reiterated Thursday that he had no intention of leaving his post, and said that he saw no contradiction in being both the country's defense minister and a social affairs leader. Speaking at a conference in Tel Aviv, Peretz added that "if I have [drawn] one clear conclusion from my nine months serving in my post, it is that my civilian background is an advantage, not a drawback." In recent weeks, reports have circulated that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert plans to discharge Peretz; however, sources close to the defense minister have denied that this is the case.