Olmert appoints new defense
Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz on
Friday resigned from his position, after the government approved the appointment
of newly-elected Labor Party Chairman Ehud Barak as his replacement, local media
There had been speculation that he would stay on in the government. However,
Peretz has informed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Friday that he does not intend
to stay in the government as a minister without portfolio, as which Olmert is
expected to appoint him, a Channel 10 TV report said.
Israeli defense minister and Labor
Party leader Amir Peretz gestures as he talks to his supporters during a
party gathering at the Labor party headquarters in Tel Aviv, June 3,
Peretz said in the wake of the Winograd Committee's partial report on the
Second Lebanon War that he would resign as defense minister following the Labor
Olmert decided to appoint Barak as defense minister in his meeting with Barak
Friday morning. Olmert has called some of his cabinet ministers for their
agreement over this appointment.
Barak responded to Olmert's request, and is expected to enter his new role
upon being sworn into Knesset (Parliament) on Monday.
The former prime minister Barak defeated rival Knesset member Ami Ayalon to
capture the chairmanship of the Labor Party in a hard-fought primary.
Olmert will meet Barak again at the end of next week, after his return from
the United States. Upon returning, the prime minister also plans to appoint a
finance minister and a Negev and Galilee development minister, to replace
president-elect Shimon Peres. Both these portfolios are expected to remain in