Netanyahu forms unity government with Labor

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff

Israel's left wing Labor Party on Tuesday narrowly voted in favor of following its chairman, Ehud Barak, into Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu's government.

The results of the vote mean Netanyahu will head a solid majority coalition of at least 66 out of 120 Knesset seats.

Despite the appearance of stability, many from both the left and right of the political spectrum were unhappy with the development.

Members of Netanyahu's Likud Party were concerned that he had compromised too much on his peace process policies. As part of the coalition deal agreed two between himself and Barak, Netanyahu committed to being a "partner for peace" by abiding by all previously signed agreements with the Palestinians.

An advisor to Netanyahu quickly pointed out that the Road Map and other peace efforts now seen as detrimental do not technically qualify as "signed agreements." But concerned right-wing critics noted that while true, that point won't matter to the international community.

While pleased that Netanyahu will be drawn more toward the left in terms of the peace process, Labor Party officials voiced concern that Barak had brought them into a government that will advance a capitalist economic agenda. Labor is a staunchly socialist party.

The one thing most on both sides agreed with is that Barak is likely the best Israeli leader to have as defense minister during the current Iranian nuclear crisis.

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