Ynet News is reporting Amir Peretz, the current Minister of Defense, is in the fight of his political life to retain the leadership of the Israeli Labour party. He claims, if he retains the leadership, he will resign from the Defense portfolio and demand to take over the Finance portfolio.
Labor leader Amir Peretz said Tuesday that he would step down as defense minister in return for the finance portfolio should he be reelected as Labor head in the May primaries. “On May 28, the night I am reelected as party chairman, I want to tell Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that I intend on revising the coalition agreement and demand the finance portfolio,” he told his supporters at a special Passover gathering in Tel Aviv.This cracks me right up and you know what? If Peretz (who is running a lone third in polling for chairman spot) wins; Olmert will probably have to give it to him. The Labour party holds the key for Kadima staying in power. Olmert has only a 3% approval rating and Kadima is looking to be thumped in the electoral mud if an election were to be held in the near future.
Peretz denied media reports that he had insisted on having the defense portfolio during coalition negotiations with Kadima after last year's general elections, saying he had wanted the finance ministry. "You don't know how much I wanted to be the finance minister. You don't know which effort we put in negotiations. When things didn't fall through I agreed to fill the most important post, that of defense minister," Peretz said, drawing applauds from his supporters. Turning his attention to the race for the party's leadership, Peretz said that his challengers were equally responsible for the army's "spiritual decline."
Although Peretz fell short of making a clear allusion to either of his main challengers – former prime minister Ehud Barak and MK Ami Ayalon – it was clear that he was referring to Barak under whose term of office Israel withdrew its army from south Lebanon.