Barak Presses for Labor to Join Netanyahu’s Coalition

Massive Turnabout Could Keep Labor Leader as Defense Minister

It hasn’t even been a week since the Labor Party publicly ruled out joining a right-wing coalition government headed by Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu, but the prospect of moving from a key ministership to head of a secondary opposition party already has party leader Ehud Barak thinking twice.

Reportedly, the defense minister has been calling Labor MPs and urging them to become part of a “unity government” with Netanyahu. Barak appears to have acknowledged that he is in the minority in his party, but says he believes “I can pass it in the central committee.”

Adding the Labor Party, reeling from a fourth place finish in last month’s election, to a right-far-right coalition government seems like an unlikely choice, but Barak, who had previously ruled out keeping the position unless Labor got close to 20 seats in the election, now believes that for the good of the country, he should remain defense minister.

Yet many in the Labor have been averse to joining a government that’s virtually certain to involve Avigdor Lieberman, they even backed off an endorsement of the Kadima Party for courting Lieberman after the election. Barak’s attempt to keep his party in the government may threaten to split it apart.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of