TEL AVIV (Dec. 21)
Labor Party leader Shimon Peres, designated as finance minister in the new Labor-Likud coalition government, will have little say in the conduct of Israel’s foreign policy, according to media reports here Wednesday.
The reports said that Peres, who has been foreign minister for the past two years, would be given access to all secret diplomatic cables and messages, under a secret pact with Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, the Likud leader.
But the agreement makes clear that all matters concerning foreign relations will be the sole province of the Foreign Ministry, the reports said.
Moshe Arens, a Herut hard-liner close to Shamir, will be named the next foreign minister.
The Labor-Likud pact also reportedly provides that there will be no change in the status of the West Bank or Gaza Strip unless both parties agree.
Other stipulations bar budgetary or financial discrimination between the country’s secular and religious school systems.
The two parties agreed that the heads of Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, and Shin Bet, its internal secret service, will be appointed only after agreement among Shamir, Peres, Arens and Yitzhak Rabin of Labor, who will remain defense minister.
A yet unresolved disagreement between Peres and Shamir arose Wednesday morning, when the prime minister’s plans to name Likud-Herut minister David Levy as “vice deputy premier” became known.
Peres insists there can be only one deputy premier — himself.