Rafi Eitan to be Netanyahu's adviser on pensioners
Kadima alleges political trick, calls him "the 31st minister."
By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
Pensioners Party leader Rafi Eitan did not succeed in winning enough votes to return his party to the Knesset, but he will continue working on behalf of his constituency in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government.
Netanyahu has appointed Eitan as his adviser on pensioners' affairs. He will work out of the same office he had in prime minister Ehud Olmert's government, with similar conditions.
Likud MK Leah Ness was upset when Netanyahu appointed her deputy minister of pensioners' affairs without a minister above her. She had wanted to be appointed a minister, but now it is clear why she did not get the post. Ness had moved into Eitan's office, but now she will have to vacate it for a smaller office in the ministry.
Kadima released a statement accusing Eitan of conspiring with Netanyahu to prevent Kadima leader Tzipi Livni from forming a government, in return for political promises from Netanyahu.
"Now it has been proven despite all the denials that Netanyahu paid off Rafi Eitan in an ugly political deal," a Kadima spokesman said.
"Eitan acted for his own personal good and not to help pensioners.
"Whoever sits in a minister's office and receives the salary and benefits of a minister is a minister, even if Netanyahu is trying to trick the public by calling him an adviser. Netanyahu's bloated government just got its 31st unnecessary minister."
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