The leader of Israel’s Labor Party faced down a rebellion from senior members of his faction over planned ministerial appointments. Amir Peretz was given the power Sunday by a narrow 667-633 margin as the Labor Central Committee voted to appoint the Labor lawmakers of his choice to the seven ministerial portfolios which the party is to receive in the next government. Peretz, who agreed last week to join Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s coalition government, called a meeting of the Labor committee earlier Sunday to ratify the deal and his list of proposed ministers. But he was challenged by senior Labor lawmakers Danny Yatom, Matan Vilnai and Ami Ayalon, who submitted a motion for ministers to be selected through a central committee vote. The Labor “rebels,” none of whom is on the current ministerial roster and all of whom are veterans of the Israeli military top brass, were galvanized by Peretz’s decision to take over the Defense Ministry in the next government. They argue that he lacks the security credentials and undermined Labor’s influence with faulty coalition bargaining. Peretz offered an additional compromise, promising that Laborite Avishai Braverman would be given a portfolio.
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