The Labor Party Saturday threatened to resign from the coalition if the government does not approve Arab Knesset Member Raleb Majadele as the first Muslim minister in an Israeli government.
Sources in Labor said, "We will consider a failure to appoint Majadele to a government ministry as a violation of our coalition agreement." They said Labor party chairman Amir Peretz intended to stand behind it, but several Labor ministers said the threat is "ridiculous."
Political analysts said that it was unlikely that Peretz would escalate the Majadele issue into a coalition crisis because he already is engaged in another power struggle with Olmert that he may lose-- the appointment of his choice for a new IDF Chief of Staff. The Defense Minister wants Maj. Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi to take over the job, but Olmert is known to prefer Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky.
"If Peretz loses any of these political battles right now, it will make him seem even weaker in the eyes of party members, and the snowball called [Ehud] Barak will likely turn into an avalanche of defections Peretz won't be able to stop," one analyst said.