Knesset Members Moshe Sharoni, Sarah Marom-Shalev and Elchanan Glazer of the Pensioners' Party announced that they would be leaving the party and the coalition led by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Glazer said Saturday that "in view of Prime Minister Olmert's investigations, the government's days are numbered, and an alternative approach to the coalition needs to be presented." He said people in other factions are of a similar opinion.

Glazer said that he was offered the position of Deputy Minister for Pensioners' Affairs under Pensioners' Party head Rafi Eitan, but did not wish to impose a financial burden on the country and decided to refuse the offer.

While the defection of three MKs does not endanger Olmert's Knesset majority in and of itself, it is a crack in the coalition that some observers think may widen.

Sharoni's intention to split with the Pensioners has been a known fact for several months, following Sha

"Glazer's zigzags are ugly. He is spitting into the plate he ate from."

roni's demotion from the position of faction chairman, after he sponsored a bill to raise senior citizens' pensions beyond what the government was willing to authorize.

Zigzags and threats

Glazer and Marom-Shalev zigzaged between a stated intention to join Sharoni and last-minute second thoughts, as Eitan tried to convince them to stay. At one point, Sharoni convinced Glazer to sign a memo saying he would join him, and when Glazer tried to renege on the agreement, Sharoni threatened to take him to court.

Following the trio's announcement of the split, Pensioners' Knesset faction chairman MK Yitzchak Galanti said: "Maybe at last, after two years in which we have been contending with Sharoni's caprices we can start working. Glazer's zigzags are ugly. He is spitting into the plate he ate from."

As for MK Marom-Shalev, Galanti told Ynet that she doesn’t even want to run for the next Kness

"Elchanan Glazer is a real man. He was treated unjustly. He specifically said that he never asked to be a deputy minister."

et. "I didn't think this would happen when we ran in the Pensioners' list. Each time we tried to persuade Sharoni to stop running amok, and he kept on. Talking to him is like talking to a wall," he explained.

MK Sharoni responded by saying: "Elchanan Glazer is a real man. He was treated unjustly. He specifically said that he never asked to be a deputy minister. What angered him were all of the 'spins' that made him look like a position-seeker."  

The breakaway Pensioners MKs will be forming a new faction which will be identified with billionaire Arcadi Gaydamak, who has formed a party called "Social Justice." The new faction will reportedly call itself "Pensioners' Justice" and the united party that will contend in the next elections may be called "Social Justice / Justice for the Pensioners."

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