Daily Israel Report

Barak Deputy: Its Barak or Lieberman as Defense Minister

Shalom Simhon warns Israelis vote for Ehud Barak's Independence Party or FM Avigdor Lieberman will be the next Defense Minister
By Gabe Kahn
First Publish: 5/2/2012, 6:41 PM

Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak
Flash 90

Defense Minister Ehud Barak's deputy in the Independence party on Wednesday warned if Israelis didn't vote for their party that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman of the Israel Bateinu party would be Israel's next Defense Minister.

Trade and Labor Minister Shalom Simhon said, "Do we want to see [Avigdor] Lieberman as defense minister, or do we want Barak to continue? Look at how everyone is crashing and burning and there is only one person in Israel who can unite the system."

Observers say Simhon's rhetoric provides voters with a false dichotomy and note the ruling-Likud party, presently polling at 31 seats - far ahead of any other party - has several qualified ministers who could serve as Defense Minister.

Of particular note is former IDF chief of staff and present Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe "Bogie" Yaalon.

Previously, Barak's Independence party has failed to poll well-enough to be seated were early elections to be held, but it is now polling at 3 seats.

Simhon dismissed the party's low poll numbers saying, "among the Druze, Circassian, kibbutzim and moshavim alone we will get four mandates, and that is before the votes in the cities."

The party will not hold elections, and it is believed that chairman Barak will have the final say on the composition of the party Knesset list.