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Labor Party to Join Netanyahu-Gantz Government

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Labor-Gesher co-chairman Amir Peretz speaks during a vote on a bill to dissolve the Knesset in Jerusalem on Dec. 11, 2019. Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90. – Israel’s left-wing Labor Party, headed by Amir Peretz, on Sunday agreed to join the Netanyahu-Gantz unity government following a majority vote in favor by its central committee.

Though veering from campaign promises against joining a government led by a prime minister facing criminal indictment, Peretz agreed to endorse the coalition agreement with Likud and Blue and White after his party voted 64.2 percent in favor of joining the government.

“Tonight, we won sweeping backing from party members to … change the government’s agenda and economic policy to a democratic socialist one,” said Peretz in a statement, according to The Times of Israel.

According to the report, in a phone conversation between Peretz and Gantz late on Sunday, Gantz thanked Peretz for joining the coalition amid “one of the worst health, economic and social crises that Israel has known.”

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“We are not joining a right-wing government,” Peretz announced after the vote. “We are joining an egalitarian unity government with a rotating premiership. Our strategic cooperation with Benny Gantz will return Labor to its place as a leading and influential political movement.”

Under the agreement, according to Israeli media reports, Labor agreed to vote on controversial issues and avoid dissolving the coalition alliance or Knesset.

Peretz is set to become Israel’s economy minister, with Labor colleague Knesset member Itzik Shmuli receiving the labor and social services portfolio.

Labor MK Merav Michaeli criticized the two Labor MKs, accusing them of “political theft, stealing the votes of the Israelis who elected them,” and said that she will make a decision on the issue after the Supreme Court rules on the coalition agreement, according to The Times of Israel.

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