Defense Minister Amir Peretz promised to pass the appointment of Arab parliament member Ghaleb Majadle at Sunday’s cabinet meeting following committee approval of his appointment last week.
Peretz issued an ultimatum to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert late Saturday, which angered Labor Party ministers, saying that if he did not bring the appointment of Majadle as the first Arab cabinet member to a vote, Peretz would convene the Labor central committee to vote on quitting the coalition.
Labor ministers said Peretz made a mockery of the party by issuing an ultimatum that would not be respected.
One Labor member said it was extremely unlikely that a “lame duck Labor chairman” could lead the party out of the coalition and that Peretz’s behavior only hurts himself.
Sources close to Olmert said there was no chance that Majadle would be appointed before the January 31st. They also said the ultimatum was unnecessary considering more urgent matters such as the appointment of a new army chief of staff.
Israel Our Home leader, Avigdor Lieberman, said he is not opposed to appointing an Arab minister, but reiterated his accusation that the circumstances prove that Peretz is using the opportunity to garner votes in the Labor party's upcoming primary elections.