Rabin forms government
Saturday 11 July 1992
Mr Rabin's Labour party, with its 44 seats, has signed a pact with the left-wing party Meretz and the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, consolidating a coalition of 62 seats - a majority in the 120-seat Knesset. The Labour-led coalition will also be able to count on support from the Arab parties, although they will not form part of the coalition.
Last night Labour was still holding talks with other potential coalition partners - including the right-wing party Tsomet - but Mr Rabin's majority is now secure enough to start pushing through policy changes which Palestinians hope will bring about a new round of peace talks in Rome within weeks. An early meeting is now expected between Mr Rabin and James Baker, the US Secretary of State, or with President George Bush himself.
Mr Rabin will announce his cabinet tomorrow and it is likely that he will keep the defence portfolio for himself. As a former defence minister, Mr Rabin believes that he must take personal charge of the security implications of an autonomy deal.
Although Palestinians do not expect much sympathy on the security front from Mr Rabin - the man who, four years ago, ruthlessly sought to crush the intifada - his hand on defence means he may at least be able to diffuse the fears of the Israeli right.
The Foreign Ministry is expected to go to Mr Rabin's arch- rival, and his predecessor as Labour leader, Shimon Peres. Mr Peres' politics are more dovish than Mr Rabin's, but he enjoys wide support in the party. However, Mr Rabin will insist that overall control of the peace talks remains in his office.
The appointment of a housing minister - the man who will control Jewish settlements - has not yet been decided, although it looks likely to go to Labour and not, as feared, to a right-wing coalition partner.
Signalling that the left will have significant influence in Mr Rabin's government, the pact with Meretz, which holds 12 seats, gave the party the Education Ministry and full rights to express its view that the end result of the peace process should be a Palestinian state.
Though less stridently opposed to a Palestinian state than Likud, Labour has always refused to discuss such a prospect, seeking to concentrate on securing only interim autonomy. With Meretz inside the coalition, the concept of a Palestinian state will cease to be taboo. Meretz also won the right to argue as a coalition member for the inclusion of the Palestine Liberation Organisation in later stages of the peace process.
The impact of the Labour-Shas pact will not trouble the peace process but it might upset Israel's domestic scene, particularly the religious community. By joining Labour, Shas has broken away from the ultra-Orthodox camp, ignoring their dictat to shun a coalition with Labour.
- 2 Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
- 3 Amal Clooney gives excellent answer to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 4 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Isis publicly behead man in Syrian town square for 'insulting Allah' as he screams for help
Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
Amal Clooney gives excellent answer to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Sir David Attenborough interview: The one question about life that still baffles him
Isis publicly behead man in Syrian town square for 'insulting Allah' as he screams for help
One spelling error costs Companies House up to £9 million after being sued for ruining business
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: This post arises as a result of the need to...
£120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...
£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...
£24000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wim...