Top Labor MK: Barak Trying to Turn Party Into Yisrael Beiteinu

Comments by party secretary general Eitan Cabel come after suspension of Labor's legal advisor.

Labor's secretary general on Friday accused party leader Ehud Barak of trying to turn Labor into the rightist Yisrael Beiteinu after the controversial suspension of its legal advisor.

Attorney Yoram Avrahami was suspended Friday by Labor's central committee after he had allegedly published legal advice without consulting with Barak.

MK Eitan Cabel said the measures against the legal adviser "are a continuation of various measures implemented by the Labor party chairman in recent days with the purpose of attempting to turn Labor into Yisrael Beiteinu."

Cabel's mentioning of Yisrael Beiteinu was apparently a reference to its leader Avigdor Lieberman, against whom an investigation into alleged corruption is underway.

Avrahami had said that the party's emergency convention on Tuesday contravened the party's regulations, which require a three-week period after the elections before a convention could be called. The convention was called at Barak's behest to vote on his proposed motion to join a Likud-led government.

Cabel, formerly a stalwart Barak ally but now one of the party's most vocal opponents to entry into the coalition, said the decision was legally invalid.

"A gathering of friends in the chairman's room at the Defense Ministry is not a legal gathering of the party secretariat, and in any case there is no validity to a decision made at a bizarre gathering in which even the secretary general is not present," said Cabel, who did not attend the meeting in which Avrahami was suspended.

"The chairman must also know that Labor is not Yisrael Beiteinu - it has a constitution and institutions."

Cabel added that Barak had broken a promise made on Thursday in which the Labor Party leader had pledged to work for party unity.

Attorney Haim Cohen has been brought in as a temporary replacement for Avrahami.