Published March 24, 2009
| Associated Press
JERUSALEM – Israel's Labor Party voted Tuesday to join the incoming government of Benjamin Netanyahu, giving a centrist tone to the coalition that has looked hard-line up to now.
Party secretary Eitan Cabel announced the results of the voting after a heated debate — 680 in favor and 507 against.
Ofer Eini, head of the Histadrut labor union and a senior Labor Party operative, told Israel's Army Radio, "I'm happy that party delegates have decided to enter the government." But others chanted slogans like "Disgrace" after the announcement.
Netanyahu has signed coalition agreements with Yisrael Beitenu and Shas, two parties known for their tough policy lines toward the Palestinians, as is Netanyahu's own Likud Party. Labor, in contrast, has been in the forefront of Mideast peace efforts.
Labor's 13 seats in the parliament would give Netanyahu a majority of 66 in the 120-seat house, but there is a possibility that the party could split as a result of the vote, and some members might choose to remain in the opposition.