Five portfolios tempt Labor’s Barak to join Netanyahu’s government
Ehud Barak, defense minister in the outgoing administration and Labor leader, is close to a decision to take his party into Binyamin Netanyahu’s coalition government, tempted by his latest offer, according to debkafile‘s political sources.
Netanyahu will next week ask the president for more time for coalition negotiations. Although he has ratcheted up a majority of 61-65 Knesset members, Israel’s prime minister-in-waiting is very reluctant to lead an administration made up of right-of-center, nationalist and religious parties. To lure Labor, our sources report he is offering that party the ministries of defense, social welfare, pensioners and one without portfolio, two deputy ministers and two powerful parliamentary chairs – Finance and Constitution.
The designated prime minister is willing to pick Israel’s ambassador to Washington together with the Labor leader.
Barak and his faction, led by Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, Yitzhak Herzog, Shalom Simhon, Matan Vilnai and Histadrut Trade Unions Secretary Ofer Einai, have decided to convene the party’s central committee or convention as soon as possible to seek its endorsement for joining the Netanyahu government. He is battling fierce opposition in party ranks but hopes to muster enough support to vote it down.