Leftist Party Could Join Israel Government

Netanyahu gets more time as Labor debates joining coalition
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2009 7:19 AM CDT
Defense Minister and Labor Party leader Ehud Barak, left, and Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands, during a meeting, in Jerusalem, Monday, Feb. 23, 2009.   (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister-designate of Israel, has been given an extra two weeks to form a government after a breakthrough in talks with Ehud Barak, the leader of the Labor Party and the country's outgoing defense minister. While Netanyahu has been ready to complete his right-wing cabinet this week, Barak seems ready to join in, warning that letting the hard right govern Israel would be irresponsible.

The Labor Party went down to a fourth-place finish in February's election, behind the ultranationalist Yisrael Beiteinu Party, which has already joined Netanyahu's government. Several members of Labor say they won't support a government they consider too far right, but Barak insisted negotiations were appropriate: "What is wrong with talking to Netanyahu? I have spoken with senior PLO terrorists. Is Netanyahu the worst of our nation's enemies?"