Labor Party Set to Join Far-Right Israeli Gov't
Barak signs deal with Netanyahu, but party members may rebel
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2009 6:20 AM CDT
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, left, attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, March 22, 2009. Barak signed a deal with Benjamin Netanyahu to join the country's new government.   (AP Photo/Uriel Sinai, Pool)
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(Newser) – Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister-designate, has reached a deal with Ehud Barak that would see Barak's center-left Labor Party join an otherwise hard-right coalition, reports Haaretz. Barak, a former PM, is expected to retain his current post of defense minister in the new government. But Labor is divided over the wisdom of joining Netanyahu, and there's no guarantee the party's central committee will approve the deal today.

Labor suffered a drubbing in February's election, falling to fourth place behind the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu. Seven Labor members of the Knesset have rebelled against Barak, and warned yesterday in a letter to Netanyahu that "the negotiating team established by the 'Barak faction' does not enjoy our backing." Netanyahu has a deadline of April 3 to form a government.