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Within minutes of his appointment yesterday as minister-without-portfolio, Labor's Ami Ayalon had to contend with harsh accusations from colleagues across the political board for entering the cabinet despite previous pledges to the contrary.

"He went on a wild zigzag on the Ayalon Highways," Likud MK Gideon Sa'ar punned. "The public might think that everyone is like you, Ami. They might think commitments mean nothing, that promises are worthless."

Following the perceived failures of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government during the Second Lebanon War, Ayalon publicly called for Labor to withdraw from the coalition with Olmert's Kadima.

"How are all the generals with whom you met at the demonstration against Olmert's government at Rabin Square supposed to feel now?" Sa'ar demanded at the Knesset Plenum.

Ayalon's Labor colleague, Eitan Cabel, said he believed "it was wrong of Ayalon to enter the government."

Cabel resigned as Labor's secretary general following the release of the Winograd committee's interim report four months ago on the performance of the leaders who made decisions during the war. Cabel said that he hoped the government would not remain in power for much longer.

Merez Chairman Yossi Beilin said the appointment was "a somber day for Israeli politics."