Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak has made it into a run-off election against Ami Ayalon to replace Amir Peretz as the leader of the Labor Party, and presumably to take over the Ministry of Defense. It speaks to the dirth of leadership in Israel right now that Barak (who was ready to give away the store to Arafat in 2000) has re-entered the political fray. Should Barak become the head of Labor, at least it’s unlikely that he’d be much worse than Peretz as Defense Minister, and he has military experience. While both Barak and Ayalon have called on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to resign, it’s uncertain how far they’d push things. Barak has said he wouldn’t withdraw Labor from the coalition government (which would trigger its collapse), but would push for early elections. One thing to keep in mind is that there is a certain dis-incentive for Labor to call early elections, because polls show Likud would be a big winner. That’s another reason why Olmert has managed to stay in power dispite having practically no support from the Israeli public.
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