Ex-Haaretz Reporter Daniel Ben-Simon to Head Labor's Knesset Faction

Ben Simon backtracks on objection to entering coalition, says he 'turned from an objector to one who obeys.'

New MK Daniel Ben Simon, a former Haaretz reporter and columnist, was elected chairman of Labor's Knesset faction Wednesday. But the party cannot find anyone willing to head the important Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, which Labor received under the coalition deal with senior partner Likud.

In the past, MKs would fight for both these posts, but Labor is split between MKs who have been made ministers and deputy ministers, and those who oppose joining the coalition and refuse to accept key parliamentary positions.

The faction met Thursday to discuss its problems following the party's entry into the coalition with right-wing Likud. The faction elected Ben Simon chairman, the only candidate for the post traditionally reserved for a veteran MK.

Ben Simon initially objected to entering the government, but "the moment the party convention voted in favor [of joining], my resistance faded. I turned from an objector to one who obeys," he said.

Five Labor MKs are ministers, including Avishay Braverman, who had also objected to joining the coalition at first. Two MKs are deputy ministers and one is faction chairman - Ben Simon.

The remaining five "rebels" did not take part in the swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday.