Shochat to retire from Knesset

Shochat's resignation will end a political career of more than 4 decades.

Former finance minister Avraham Shochat is expected to announce his resignation from the Knesset on Sunday, ending a political career that spanned more than four decades. Shochat, 69, told reporters that he intends to make a "personal announcement" at the press conference. Shochat's resignation has been rumored for some four years; sources close to him said on Saturday night that he wants to spend more time with his family and to accept a lucrative business offer. He started his career as the head of the workers' union in Arad and then served as mayor of the development town for 22 years. Shochat entered the Knesset in 1988 as a confidant of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and served as finance minister in the cabinets of Rabin and Ehud Barak. Former deputy minister Sallah Tarif, who is the next name on the Labor list, will replace Shochat in the Knesset when it reconvenes on October 31. Tarif, who represents the Druse sector, recently finished serving a six-month sentence of community service for accepting a bribe. Tarif is considered a kingmaker in Labor Party politics. His endorsement decided the last three Labor leadership races, but he has not yet endorsed a candidate in Labor's November 9 leadership primary. The final list of Labor members eligible to vote in the primary is set to be published on Wednesday, ahead of Yom Kippur. Shochat was one of the heads of Barak's election campaign until Barak quit the race.