Labor Blasted for Excluding Women As Cabinet Ministries Take Shape
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Labor Blasted for Excluding Women As Cabinet Ministries Take Shape

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Angry feminists assailed Labor Party leader Shimon Peres Wednesday for excluding women from the Labor side of the proposed new Labor-Likud coalition Cabinet.

Peres was unable to complete his closing speech at the Labor Central Committee meeting in a Givatayim movie house late Wednesday.

A phalanx of women on the committee drowned him out with shouts of “police state” and “no women, no Cabinet.”

The demonstration followed an unusually tame session of the Central Committee, which easily ratified Labor’s new coalition agreement with Likud.

The demonstration was in reaction to Peres’ refusal of a Cabinet portfolio to Knesset member Ora Namir. He told her the best he could do was a deputy ministership.

She declined and left the hall seething.

Earlier, Peres informed Shoshana Arbeli-Almoslino, health minister in the outgoing government, that she would not be included in the new one. He offered no explanation.

The Labor veteran was shocked and said she had been grievously wronged.


Labor’s ministerial delegation was drawn up by Peres Tuesday night, reportedly in consultation with the party’s No. 2 man, Yitzhak Rabin.

Rabin is believed to have supported Namir for a ministerial job, and was said to have left the hall in a huff.

There are no women in Likud’s ministerial delegation.

Peres named 11 ministers to match the 11 appointed by Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, the Likud leader. The coalition agreement provides for parity between the partners.

In addition to Peres, who will be finance minister in the new government, and Rabin, who will be defense minister, Laborites named to the Cabinet include Yitzhak Navon, Ezer Weizman, Moshe Shahal, Gad Yaacobi, Haim Bar-Lev, Ya’acov Tsur, Avraham Katz-Oz, Uzi Baram and Mordechai Gur.

Rafacl Edri was designated a standby in the event that Shamir names a 12th Likud member of the Cabinet.

Baram, the Labor Party’s secretary general, withdrew his candidacy at the last minute, saying his party job was sufficient. He also objected to the absence of a woman minister.

Peres refused to accept his withdrawal.

Baram led the party faction opposed to an alliance with Likud at the Central Committee meeting two weeks ago.


Shamir’s announcement of Likud Cabinet appointees also did not run smoothly at the Likud Central Committee meeting in Tel Aviv early Wednesday morning.

Political hard-liner Yitzhak Moda’i, who opposed the coalition with Labor, stalked out of the hall and threatened to pull his Liberal faction out of Likud.

His anger was fueled by Shamir’s apparently inadvertent omission of Likud Liberal Avraham Sharir, who served as minister of justice and tourism in the outgoing government.

Liberal ministers sent urgent notes to Shamir, who acknowledged he had made a mistake and promptly repaired it.

There will be three new Likud ministers, Knesset members Dan Meridor, Ronni Milo and Ehud Olmert.

Except for David Levy, who will continue as housing minister, Shamir did not announce Cabinet assignments. Moshe Arens is known, however, to have been selected as foreign minister.

The other Likud Cabinet members are Moda’i, Moshe Nissim, Moshe Katsav, Ariel Sharon, Gideon Patt and Sharir.

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