Sneh to quit Labor, start new faction

Denies reports of joining Gaydamak's new faction; Ami Ayalon urges Sneh not to leave the party.

sneh aj 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
sneh aj 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Veteran Labor MK Ephraim Sneh intends to leave the party and announce he's forming a new political framework in a press conference at Tel Aviv's Beit Sokolow on Sunday, Labor secretary-general Eitan Cabel told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday night. Sneh told Cabel the news in a meeting near the latter's Rosh Ha'ayin home on Saturday, after a weekend full of speculation about why Sneh had called the press conference. Sneh, who is considered to be a member of MK Amir Peretz's faction within the party, has been discontent with the party's direction since Defense Minister Ehud Barak took the reins in 2007. Sneh, who formerly served as assistant defense minister, was replaced by current Assistant Defense Minister Matan Vilna'i after Barak took office. If he resigns, Sneh would be replaced in the Knesset by Shachiv Shnaan, a representative of the party's Druse sector. Sneh's office itself would not comment on what he intended to announce Sunday. However, Sneh denied that he intends to join Arkadi Gaydamak's new Social Justice Party, Army Radio reported Saturday. Meanwhile, Minister-without-Portfolio Ami Ayalon called upon Sneh to remain in Labor. He said Sneh's departure would be a huge blow to the party. "Labor needs people like Sneh," Ayalon said. "His path is Labor's path and he is one of the party's most important figures. We cannot by any means afford to lose him."