Former Shas MK David Tal to Join Am Ehad

Yossi Verter
Ha'aretz Correspondent
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Yossi Verter
Ha'aretz Correspondent

MK David Tal, who recently left the Shas Knesset faction, will announce Tuesday that he is joining the Am Ehad party, headed by MK Amir Peretz. Last year, Peretz offered Tal the number two position on the party's Knesset list, but Tal rejected the proposal.

Since his withdrawal from Shas, several possibilities regarding Tal's political future emerged, one of them being joining the Likud.

Former Mossad chief Danny Yatom announced Monday that he intends to compete in the Labor primaries for a spot on the party's Knesset list.

Yatom also served as the prime minister's bureau chief when Ehud Barak was in office. Yatom's brother, Ehud, a former Shin Bet officer, will run for a place on the Likud Knesset list.

Israel Radio reported Monday that Yitzhak Herzog, who served as cabinet secretary during Ehud Barak's term as prime minister, will compete in the Labor Party primaries for a place on the Knesset list. In addition, Israel Radio reported that the writer Eli Amir has also decided to compete for a spot on the list.

Former Shin Bet chief, Ami Ayalon, has decided not to enter politics at this stage.

Meridor returns to Likud Center party minister Dan Meridor told Prime Minister Ariel Sharon Monday that he had decided to re-join the Likud, but would not compete for a spot on the party's Knesset list.

Meridor, once a leader of the moderate wing within the Likud who left the party along with a number of other prominent figures when Benjamin Netanyahu was prime minister, said he would throw his support behind Sharon in his batle for re-election.

"I have decided to return to the Likud, since the Center Party has run its course. We did not succeed in building something positive and lasting, and I'm returning to what has been my political home for decades, the Likud."

Meridor said he told the prime minister that after his absence of four years from the party, he did not think it proper to run for a place on the Likud Knesset list.

Meridor, son of a military and political deputy of Likud co-founder Menachem Begin, is believed to be interested in running for mayor of his hometown Jerusalem, if current Likud mayor Ehud Olmert decides against a re-election bid.

At this stage, Meridor has several options available to him: he can retire from political life for a period of time; he can return to the Likud without vying for a Knesset seat; or he can return to the Likud and wait for Olmert to resign from his post, and then vie for the mayoral position in the capital.

A Ha'aretz poll published last week showed that Meridor ranked highest among Likud members who were asked which former party members they would like to see returning to the fold. But the Knesset list, unlike the leadership race, is determined by the party's central committee, where political deals often dominate.

The result is that Meridor, who is still viewed by some in the central committee as having deserted the party, is likely to be elected low down on the Likud's Knesset slate, and possibly not even in a realistic spot.



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