Ehud Barak, 4 Other Knesset Members To Leave Labor Party

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and four other members of Israel's parliament, the Knesset, are leaving the Labour faction and forming a new, independent faction, according to a letter from the break-away members dated Monday. Barak, Matan Vilnai, Einat Wilf, Orit Noked and Shalom Simchon said "the new independent faction will be a centrist Zionist and democratic faction and will advance these ideas in the Knesset and the coalition, and in the future in public by setting up a new party."

(CNN)

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak (C) speaks to the press during his visit to the Tarqumiya checkpoint on March 24, 2008 in the occupied West Bank near the town of Hebron. Barak today stated that Israel was ready to face any revenge attacks from the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah for the killing of the movement's military chief Imad Mughnieh, 40 days ago today.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and four other members of Israel's parliament, the Knesset, are leaving the Labour faction and forming a new, independent faction, according to a letter from the break-away members dated Monday.

Barak, Matan Vilnai, Einat Wilf, Orit Noked and Shalom Simchon said "the new independent faction will be a centrist Zionist and democratic faction and will advance these ideas in the Knesset and the coalition, and in the future in public by setting up a new party."

The letter added: "For a long time many of the Labour faction members act as if they do not see themselves as members of the faction. They refuse to accept the authority of the chosen chairman and they speak and act against decision to be a part of the coalition. For a long time the members of the faction, and lately members of the government have allowed themselves to act and speak strongly against the party, the faction the chairman and the government while they continue to be party members faction and government members. These statements were used by non-party voters to harm and weaken the party."

The new faction is not yet considered a new party until it registers and meets various legal and administrative requirements.