In the spring of 2009, Ofer Eini, the chairman of the Histadrut labor federation, was perceived as the strongman of the country, WikiLeaks documents obtained by Haaretz reveal.
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In discussions held immediately after the formation of the Netanyahu government over its first budget, Eini bypassed Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and dealt directly with the prime minister. Netanyahu acceded to most of his demands.
The American ambassador made the following report to the State Department: "Eini, whose efforts were pivotal in bringing Labor into the government, views himself as a key power broker.
He told the Ambassador on May 6 that his approval of the government's economic plan and budget is the 'kosher seal' that will assure Netanyahu has support from Labor and among the workers and pensioners.
Eini added that he was scheduled to meet with Barak later in the day and would tell him that if the government does not deal with him (Eini) seriously, he would 'pull the plug' and Labor would leave the coalition.
Eini felt that Labor would be followed by Shas, which he said would not be able to accept a budget he has rejected."
More exclusive WikiLeaks documents will appear in Friday's edition of Haaretz.