Labor Ministers Collude With 'Rebels' Against Barak's Reforms

Ministers Herzog, Braverman join efforts to thwart party chairman's amendments to constitution.

Less than 24 hours after the controversial land reform sowed deep divisions within the Labor party, the faction slides on Tuesday into another bitter row over Chairman Ehud Barak's proposed amendments to the party constitution.

The five MKs known as the 'Labor rebels' ? Ophir Pines-Paz, Yuli Tamir, Eitan Cabel, Amir Peretz and Shelly Yachimovich ? have won the unusual support of two cabinet ministers, Isaac Herzog and Avishay Braverman, in their opposition to the so-called "Barak constitution."

Braverman and Pines-Paz agreed to work together to rally a majority to thwart the amendments ahead of the vote on the proposal at Wednesday's party convention.

The opponents have threatened to boycott the convention unless they are given enough air time to voice their reservations. Also, they have offered Barak to postpone the vote in order to negotiate a compromise.

Cabel, the former Labor secretary general ousted by Barak, told Israel Radio on Tuesday that "the way Barak handles things leaves me with no other choice but to look for another political framework." He said he also mulls an early retirement.