Israel's New Labor Pain?

Union leader Amir Peretz shakes the Israeli Labor Party's foundation

When union firebrand Amir Peretz snatched the leadership of Israel's Labor Party last week, he sent a shock through the country's political system. Labor, the traditional bastion of the Israeli élite, has been in sharp decline since its last Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, was defeated by Ariel Sharon in 2001. Now Peretz, a Moroccan-born resident of one of Israel's poorest towns, promises to revitalize Labor by shaking things up even more.

As an exhausted Peretz, 53, ran between meetings with Labor lawmakers and his predecessor as party leader, Shimon Peres, he told TIME that he plans to quit Sharon's government immediately...

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