Peretz: I improved Defense Ministry

Says he plans to ask for finance portfolio after Labor primary at end of May.

Olmert Peretz AP 298 (photo credit: AP [file])
Olmert Peretz AP 298
(photo credit: AP [file])
"The person who will inherit the defense portfolio from me will receive a ministry in better condition than the one I headed," Defense Minister Amir Peretz said in a Channel 2 TV interview aired on Saturday. Peretz was responding to the Winograd Committee's interim report, published on Monday, which put the most of the blame for the outcome of the Second Lebanon War on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Peretz and former IDF chief of general staff Lt. -Gen. [res.] Dan Halutz. Peretz, in a statement echoing the aftermath of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, said that Israel was captive to a "defense concept" which was nourished by experienced individuals, and hinted they were the ones to blame for the war. He said the concept was broken during his tenure, in spite of his lack of experience. Peretz was opposed to bringing forward general elections, saying such a move would introduce "unwanted factors" in the government. He said he was planning to ask for the finance portfolio after the Labor primary late May, regardless of who won the party chair. In a response apparently directed at the Winograd Committee members personally, Peretz said that "if we would have not gone to war, the process of erosion of the military would have continued unchecked." He emphasized that relations between him and Olmert were good during the war, and that they were "completely coordinated."