While Ehud Barak is doing relatively well these days, the rest of the “Labor Party” are all searching for their next jobs.
Three former ministers and confidants of party leader Barak have opted to leave the knesset since the 2009 elections. Ofir Paz-Pinas, Minister of Internal Affairs in Sharon’s government and Minister of Science, Culture and Sport in Ehud Olmert’s government resigned in January. Yuli Tamir, Minister of Education in Ehud Barak’s government, and Minister of Immigrant Absorption in Ehud Olmert’s govenment announced in Febuary that she will resign after Passover. Now Shalom Simchon, current Minister of Agriculture & Rural Development under Bibi, and former Minister of the environment, plans to step down from both his comfy cabinet post and the Knesset. The first two have new comfy jobs in academia, Paz-Pines in Hertzalyia’s I.D.C. and Tamir in Shankar. Simchon would accept the chairmanship of K.K.L. upon his resignation.
In 1992 Yitzack Rabin brought the Labor Party 44 seats. Less than two decades later Labor has 13, under current Defense Minister and former Prime-Minister Barak. Ynet’s last poll in Febuary (one year after elections) had the party’s current strength at 8 seats, while left-leaning Ha’ertz gave Labor just 6 in their November poll. The party that once ruled the country’s first 30 years, watches as their former leaders abandon ship.
The future might not be that bright, but neither is the present. Labor “rebels” Amir Peretz and Eitan Cabel are making life difficult for Barak, and want to break-away when they have a chance. Others are setting themselves up as well. One labor MK has been very close with a certain Likud minister these days, and a Labor Minister has been surprising close with a member of the oppositions right flank.
I would predict the next Labor MK to resign, but the more interesting fact is that when elections roll around again, the ship might be half-empty.