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Israeli Cabinet unanimously approves former PM Barak for defense post

Story Highlights

• Israeli Cabinet approves appointment of Ehud Barak as defense minister
• His appointment is pending final parliamentary approval, expected Monday
• Barak, once Israel's top general, is seen as "an experienced defense minister"
• Current defense minister, Amir Peretz, announces resignation
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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- The Israeli Cabinet on Friday unanimously approved the nomination of newly elected Labor Party leader Ehud Barak as Israel's defense minister.

The Israeli parliament, the Knesset, is expected to give final approval to the appointment Monday.

Barak, a former general and Israeli prime minister, will take over from Amir Peretz, the outgoing Labor Party chairman.

Peretz had advised Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that he would resign effective Monday.

After a meeting Friday between Olmert and Barak, Olmert's office said the decision was made to move ahead immediately with Barak's appointment, having "agreed that given the situation in the Palestinian Authority, we need an experienced defense minister as soon as possible."

Peretz, who did not have a military background, was criticized in an interim report on last summer's campaign against Hezbollah as being inexperienced.

Barak, who was once Israel's top general, was prime minister from 1999 to 2001, when he was defeated by Ariel Sharon.


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Former Israeli Prime Minister and Labor Party leader Ehud Barak speaks at a press conference, May 8, 2007.

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