“Ariel Sharon has”threatened” that early elections will be held if the Knesset cannot pass his proposed budget, a move that most regard as a bullying tactic to push his legislation through.
But Israel’s leading newspaper, the left-leaning Ha’aretz, says hold him to his word. Labor party challengers are already lining up. While the hawkish Labor party Defense Minister Benjamin (Fuad) Ben-Eliezer once seemed the obvious choice, Labor’s top brass is now lining up behind Haifa mayor Amram Mitzna and his circle of economists, lawyers and business executives in the hope that he can hold the center. Polls show he would beat Ben-Eliezer as Labor’s nominee, but Ha’aretz has also cautioned that Mitzna’s "parachute drop" candidacy is really just a ploy to block Ben-Eliezer. This contest has racial overtones as well; Ben-Eliezer is the first Mizrahi Jew (of Middle Eastern origin) to become a Defense Minister.”