Barak could still join unity government


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Labor Party head Ehud Barak has not ruled out joining a unity government following a meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu.

Barak’s two-hour meeting Sunday night with the prime minister-designate ended with Barak agreeing to further talks, the Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported. The leaders discussed the threat from Iran, Operation Cast Lead and the current economic crisis, Barak said.

Netanyahu, the Likud Party leader, has said he would like to see Barak continue on as defense minister.

Barak is likely to meet resistance from his party, especially from Amir Peretz, a former Labor chairman who is planning to make another run for the top spot.

"If Barak tries to join the government as defense minister, the party will not be behind him," Peretz told Army Radio. "This is Barak’s right, to join the government as a professional appointment to the Defense Ministry, but that is a problem when he heads a party that doesn’t agree with Netanyahu on the most crucial matters, such as collapsing Hamas’ government in Gaza."  

Some Labor activists are concerned about becoming marginalized sitting in an opposition led by the Kadima Party and its chairman, Tzipi Livni. 

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