Peretz regrets letting Lieberman join coalition

Allowing Israel Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman to join Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's coalition is my only regret, Labor Chairman Amir Peretz told Labor supporters in Tel Aviv on Saturday night. Peretz said he did not regret accepting the Defense portfolio because of his impact on socioeconomic issues in the army and his desire to prove that a minister who is not a former general could succeed in the post. Nevertheless, the defense minister said he did regret not opposing Labor ministers who insisted on remaining in the cabinet when Lieberman joined. "My only political decision that I regret is not causing a coalition crisis over Lieberman," Peretz told the crowd. "I made a big mistake," he said. "I shouldn't have listened to ministers who said that we needed to remain in the government."