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Monday, January 17, 2011

Ehud Barak Quits Labor Party To Start New Party

Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced that he will be stepping down from his position as Labor Party Chairman on Monday morning, January 17th.

With a weakened party, Barak plans to start up a new party called Atzmaut (עצמאות- Independence) with four other Labor party members, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai, and Knesset Members Shalom Simhon, Einat Wilf and Ori Noked.

Barak told reporters today that he and his colleageus "are creating a faction, a movement and eventually a party that will be centrist, Zionist and democratic."

This decision creates massive troubles for Netanyahu's coalition government, although the Labor party Knesset numbers are still high enough that he still holds a parliamentary majority.  According to reports, Barak and his four colleagues intend to remain in the coalition as they have been vocal about their support for Netanyahu's policies.

Shalom Simhon said that the break from the Labor party was inevitable.

 "This situation was unacceptable. This process will expedite things that must occur in the Israeli Left. People ask if we are destroying Labor. We aren't destroying Labor. Labor was destroyed when a minority group refused to accept a decision of 2500 members [to enter the coalition]," he explained.

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