Four Labor Rebels Trying to Use Mofaz Law to Break From Party

Barak said rebels preoccupied with attacking him wildly and do not obey decisions by party institutions.

Four "rebel" legislators from the Labor Party will meet next week to examine how they can profit from a recently-passed law making it easier for lawmakers to break away from their parties.

The four - MKs Eitan Cabel, Yuli Tamir, Amir Peretz and Ophir Pines-Paz - want to see how the Mofaz Law could be applied so as to allow them to completely break away from Labor over their lack of confidence in party chairman Ehud Barak.

One of the four said the group considering appealing to the High Court of Justice to have the so-called Mofaz Law, passed earlier this week, applied to their splinter group.

The Mofaz Law - so dubbed because it could enable Kadima's Number 2 man, Shaul Mofaz, to defect with several other right-leaning Kadima lawmakers and join Likud's ruling coalition - lowered the number of lawmakers needed to split off a party from one-third to seven in parties with more than 21 Knesset members.

They plan to point out that seven Knesset members make up 25 percent of the Kadima faction. This means, according to their interpretation, that they should be allowed to secede from Labor because they make up 25 percent of that party.

If their motion is filed and accepted, the four could break from Labor and become an independent entity in Knesset. Currently, they are unable to break from Labor because they lack a fifth member, which would carry them over the 33-percent threshold for secession.

The four rebels, who are challenging Ehud Barak's leadership of the party and have called for his resignation, are currently seeking legal advice in assessing the chances of having their petition to the High Court of Justice accepted.

"If Barak agrees to a 'consensual divorce', we can complete the breakaway in the very near future," Pines-Paz said. "I have made an great effort to prevent the rift but it is inevitable. It can be a consensual divorce or it can be an ugly one. I recommend consensual separation. We will not be shown the door and be prevented from walking through it."

But Barak says that the MKs are not prevented from leaving - if they return their seats to Labor. "I am not saying that they can't leave," Barak has said. "I think that it's more appropriate, if members decide that they have lost their faith in [those that have voted them in], for them to return their mandate, as [former Labor member] Ephraim Sneh did."

He said the rebels are preoccupied with attacking him wildly and do not obey decisions by party institutions.

On Wednesday, Barak prevented a further rift in his party when he brokered a deal with the party's three top politicians - Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog, Minority Affairs Minister Avishay Braverman, and Pines-Paz - to pass a new constitution for the political movement.

Before the deal, it was speculated that Barak's insistence on passing the constitution without making any changes would trigger lawmakers in his faction to join the four rebels, who had opposed the charter.