Chairman of the Israel Beiteinu party, Avigdor Lieberman, said on
Monday that his party decided to join the government, and that he hopes
a final deal would be signed by Tuesday.
The Jerusalem Post reported on its online edition that Lieberman will apparently be given the posts of Vice Prime Minister and the Minister of Strategic Affairs regarding Iran.
Lieberman said that the main issue is that the government should focus its energy “on the Iranian threat” and not on political efforts to bringing a government down.
The Jerusalem Post reported that sources in Israel Beiteinu said there was rare dissension in the faction about whether it was right for a party rising in the polls to extend the tenure of an unpopular government.
Yet, several officials of the party said that if Lieberman was part of the security cabinet during the war on Lebanon, the results of this war would have been different.
The officials added that now, the government needs to focus on “the Iranian threat”.
Lieberman stated that the party “is saving Israel, not the government”, adding that the main issue Israel faces is the “Iranian threat”.
Meanwhile, the Central Committee of the Labor Party will convene on Tuesday to decide the future of the party in the coalition in light of the addition of Israel Beiteinu party.
Sources at the Labor party said that there is a clear majority in the party's committee to remain in the government even if Lieberman joins, and even Labor Party Chairman Amir Peretz tells the committee that the party should quit the government.
Olmert holds talks with Lieberman on coalition
Saed Bannoura – IMEMC & Agencies, 14:18
Israeli sources reported that Israel's Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert,
will hold a meeting on Monday with Avigdor Lieberman, head of Yisrael
Betenu (Israel Our Home) party for official talks on joining the
The two leaders met on Sunday after Israel Our Home party authorized Lieberman to hold talks with Olmert.
The party held a meeting in Jerusalem and decided to authorize Lieberman to launch negotiations to enter a government coalition with Kadima party headed by Olmert.
Meanwhile, officials of the Labor party said the party will not quit the government even if Lieberman joins.
Labor party chairman, Amir Peretz, said on Sunday that he plans to continue his efforts to prevent any changes in the make-up of the coalition, but will not quit the government of the change occurs.
Peretz added that there would be significant changes in the current coalition of the government if Israel Our Home Party joins it. The change, Peretz said, would make a considerable diplomatic socioeconomic change in the current coalition stances.
Several Labor party officials said that the party would not quit the government if Lieberman joins, yet Labor party minister, Eital Cabel, said that he would recommend Labor to leave the coalition.
Labor party ministers Matan Vilnai, and Ami Ayalon, said in recent days that they would not work against the party staying in the government coalition if Lieberman joins.
Lieberman is known for his extreme positions against the Arabs and Palestinians; he repeatedly called for the massive transfer of Arabs living in Israel and the Palestinians in the occupied territories to Jordan among other Arab countries.