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Should Barak stay in government? Israelis divided

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Israelis are divided on whether Ehud Barak should part ways with Ehud Olmert if the prime minister is censured by a final report on the Second Lebanon War.

The planned publication on January 30 of the findings of the Winograd Committee, which is investigating the 2006 war against Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas, has revived calls in Israel for Prime Minister Olmert to resign or for Defense Minister Barak to try to topple him by withdrawing the Labor Party from the Kadima-led coalition government.

Olmert has vowed to stay in office, while Barak has demurred on whether he will bolt, saying the public should await the report.

A survey in Thursday’s Yediot Acharonot found that 52 percent of Israelis think Barak should quit the government if the Winograd Committee blames Olmert for the war’s failings, while 41 percent do not. Seven percent had no answer.

The poll had 500 respondents and a 4.5 percent margin of error.

Political analysts say that though Barak, a former prime ministe, has made clear his plans to retake top office, the time may not be right for him to seek a showdown with Olmert.

 

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