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Senior officials in the Histadrut labor federation demanded yesterday that chairman Ofer Eini dispel the uncertainty regarding his future as predictions mount that he will leave the union.

Eini has denied that he is intent on resigning from his post. During yesterday's meeting of the Histadrut governing council, Eini was asked about his future plans. "I'm not leaving," he said. "As of now, I'm in the Histadrut."

During a Histadrut conference held at a Dead Sea resort over the weekend, Eini continued to fend off questions about his plans. "It is incorrect to state that I will quit on January 1," he said. "I've yet to decide regarding the future."

Eini's extensive contacts with business executives and government officials have fueled speculation that his days as labor union chief are numbered.

A senior Labor Party operative said yesterday that all indications point to Eini quitting the Histadrut in favor of a position in the private sector. "The Histadrut is about to lose an important, strong leader who succeeded in ensuring workers' rights without setting the burning the economy with unnecessary strikes," the official said.

Eini, who is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in Israeli politics, particularly within the Labor Party, refused media requests for comment. One of his aides made do with a terse reaction, stating: "Ofer Eini has yet to make a decision regarding his future and when he has something to announce, he will do so."