Olmert to finalize entry of ultra right-wing party into Israel’s government
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is set finalize an agreement on Monday with parliament member Avigdor Lieberman regarding the entry of Lieberman’s ultra right-wing ‘Yisrael Beiteinu’ (Israel Our Home) party into Israel’s coalition government.
The two leaders are set to meet on Monday to finalize conditions of the deal, between Olmert's Kadima and Lieberman's party according to Haaretz. Under the agreement, Yisrael Beiteinu’s head will serve as a senior minister with a focus on "strategic threats,” meaning that Lieberman will in fact be a deputy prime minister of Israel and have a seat in the nation’s diplomatic-security cabinet.
Members of the Labor Party Central Committee, most of whom oppose the inclusion of the rightist party into the cabinet, are nonetheless expected to approve the deal following a meeting on Thursday or Sunday.
Israel’s Defense Minister and Labor chairman Amir Peretz is among those strongly opposing Yisrael Beiteinu's appointment. Peretz is expected to vote against the move during the upcoming cabinet meeting.
Nonetheless, Peretz is not likely to lead the Labor party out of the coalition following the deal, a move that would lead to a government crisis.
A statement released by the party said: "Peretz intends to continue working toward preventing a change to the makeup of the coalition and to strengthen the existing government, "The Labor chairman regards the possible inclusion of Yisrael Beiteinu a substantive change in the path of the current government, in both political and socio-economic affairs."
The statement added that entry of the right-wing party “does not provide answers to moral questions dealing with human rights and the Israeli citizen.”
It is likely that at some point next week Knesset will be asked to approve Lieberman's appointment as minister.
Lieberman is known for his harsh comments against Arabs. Earlier this year he lashed out at Israeli Arab political parties and said he hoped Arab parliament members who had contact with Hamas or did not celebrate Israel's Independence Day would be executed.
During a Knesset plenum debate, Lieberman said Arab MKs who meet with Hamas leaders "are cooperating with the enemy" and must be tried.