Israel's Labor Party Joins Incoming Government

JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel's Labor Party voted Tuesday to join the
incoming government of Benjamin Netanyahu, giving a centrist tone
to the coalition that has looked hard-line up to now.

Party secretary Eitan Cabel announced the results of the voting
after a heated debate - 680 in favor and 507 against.

Ofer Eini, head of the Histadrut labor union and a senior Labor
Party operative, told Israel's Army Radio, "I'm happy that party
delegates have decided to enter the government." But others
chanted slogans like "Disgrace" after the announcement.

Netanyahu has signed coalition agreements with Yisrael Beitenu
and Shas, two parties known for their tough policy lines toward the
Palestinians, as is Netanyahu's own Likud Party. Labor, in
contrast, has been in the forefront of Mideast peace efforts.

Labor's 13 seats in the parliament would give Netanyahu a
majority of 66 in the 120-seat house, but there is a possibility
that the party could split as a result of the vote, and some
members might choose to remain in the opposition.


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