Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is no longer getting along with two of senior ministers, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.
Since Barak came out publicly calling on the prime minister to step down, following the testimony given by Moshe Talansky some two weeks ago, Olmert and Barak, and their wives, no longer enjoy a friendly working breakfast in Olmert’s official Jerusalem residence every Friday morning. Barak, his defense minister, has become a rival, the leader of the Labor Party which is seeking his removal from office.
Ironically, relations between the prime minister and his foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, a member of his Kadima Party, are even more strained. Reports state that Olmert will not even have a cup of coffee with Livni, limiting contact to matters that absolutely demand the two speak to one another. They disagree on most matters.
Livni feels Olmert must step down and not wait for a criminal indictment. She feels he morally cannot continue in the leadership post. She also feels that at present the PA is not ready for a deal and it is necessary to announce that talks will continue into 2009.
Olmert is not willing to make such an announcement, eager to show progress in peace talks as his political career appears to be coming to an end. He is seeking an agreement, anything that will produce a document that can be interpreted as an accomplishment, determined to reach and agreement with the PA by the end of 2008.
Israel’s United Nations Ambassador, Danny Gillerman is about to complete his term, in July and a new appointment comes from Livni, but her appointment demands the approval of the prime minister. Officials cite that this is just one example in which the national interest may be compromised by the fact the two senior ministers simply do not speak with one another. For the time being, there is no replacement for Gillerman.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)