Labor put on a brave face after former party leader Amir Peretz left for The
Tzipi Livni Party on Thursday, saying it would not hurt the party.
public is shocked by the new low in politics,” Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich
said at a party conference in Tel Aviv. “We won’t give in to opportunism,
cronyism and spins.”
“This game of musical chairs is about anything but
values. The public deserves better, deserves politicians that can serve and lead
them. Labor has normal politics, based on a real agenda and democracy,” she
A senior Labor source said Yacimovich is happy to see Peretz go,
rather than have him undermine her and the party’s campaign.
Livni’s headache now. She can enjoy him,” the source said.
central committee met on Thursday evening to vote on the party’s list and
platform for the 19th Knesset, hours before the Central Election Committee’s 10
As the conference opened, Labor secretary-general
Hilik Bar, a candidate for the next Knesset, compared Peretz’s departure to the
biblical story of Balak, who sought to curse the Israelites, but ended up
blessing them. He said those who want to harm Labor end up only helping, and
made a dig at Livni’s “party of refugees.”
MK Eitan Cabel, a close ally
of Peretz, called the latter’s move “painful,” but said Labor is his home, and
he will not leave even when it is difficult or uncomfortable.
Peretz did is inappropriate from an ideological and moral perspective. Just a
week ago, Labor voters gave him support, and he threw it in the trash,” Cabel
“Labor was and remains the only alternative to Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu’s government with or without Peretz.”
According to MK
Isaac Herzog, second on the Labor list, Peretz’s actions are “a new record of
“Peretz abandoned Labor for a party of refugees
from other parties that did not succeed and couldn’t accept the results,” Herzog
added. “The future of The Tzipi Livni Party will be like other centrist parties,
but much quicker.”
MK Nachman Shai, who left Kadima to run in the Labor
primary, said Livni and Peretz are performing political harakiri, and going
against the national interest, which would be to unite the Centrist
Instead, Shai added, they are giving Netanyahu another term as
The vote on Labor’s list for the next Knesset, which was
expected to go smoothly before Peretz’s departure, became controversial after
former Peace Now secretarygeneral Yariv Oppenheimer petitioned the party so he
would be put in a realistic spot.
Yacimovich suggested that everyone on
the list be moved up one spot, so that it could be changed quickly and easily in
time for the Central Election Committee deadline.
that the party compile its list according to its regulations, with guaranteed
representation slots, which would move him up a slot. Professor Yossi Yona, who
said he would be moved from the 20th spot to the 17th, joined his
After a noisy vote by show of hands, with Oppenheimer supporters
chanting “democracy, democracy,” Yacimovich’s suggestion was
However, Oppenheimer’s supporters would not let up, booing and
chanting “count, count,” until Bar agreed to hold a re-vote and count the raised
hands, despite his concern about bringing the list to the Knesset on
In the second vote, Yacimovich’s proposal was approved with nearly
twice as many votes, and she thanked Oppenheimer’s supporters for their
insistence on a democratic process.