Israel will have its largest government in history with 27 ministers by the end of the week, according to an agreement reached on Thursday night between Interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Labor chairman Amir Peretz, sources close to both men said Saturday. Continue reading the JPost story.
Some of the highlights of the Olmert-Peretz accord are:
Israel Beiteinu is in. Avigdor Lieberman will be Minister for Internal Security and the party will also get the Immigrant Absorption and Science/Technology portfolios.
The new Pensioners party is in and Rafael Eitan will hold a newly created portfolio for Senior Citizens Affairs. The party will also have the Health portfolio.
Labor leader Amir Peretz will be Defense Minister.
Shas and UTJ are in.
Meretz is out.
Lieberman, of course, is not happy that the coalition guidelines call for the evacuation of WB/J&S settlements. He is, however, expected to value being in government more than making a fuss over a policy argument he will lose anyway.
This government would have a parliamentary basis of 84 seats, or 70% of the total Knesset size. The significance of such a large government is that no single party, aside from Kadima–not even Labor–could bring the government down were it to leave.