Erel Margalit 521.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The Labor primary heated up on Wednesday night when venture capitalist Erel
Margalit suddenly dropped out of the race and endorsed MK Isaac
The agreement between Herzog and Margalit was intended to include
Amram Mitzna as well, but he decided against backing Herzog in Monday’s race
after three weeks of talks between the candidates at Margalit’s office in
Jerusalem and at a restaurant near Modi’in.
“We tried to reach a
consensus, and I am sorry that Mitzna didn’t join us,” Margalit told reporters
at Wednesday’s Labor convention in Kfar Saba. “I respect Mitzna, but Labor needs
a young, dynamic leader who can unite the party, and that’s ‘Buji’ [Herzog]”
Herzog said the agreement between them was not a deal but “understandings of
He warned that if Mitzna did not endorse him,
“something could happen that is not for the good of the party,” referring to a
victory by MK Shelly Yacimovich.
In what Herzog called “a cynical
political maneuver,” Yacimovich told the packed auditorium that the race was
only between herself and her former political mentor, MK Amir
“Now it is clear from all the polls that there are two candidates
left,” she said. “The vote will be between me and Amir. Any vote for any other
candidate – as skilled as he may be – is a waste of a vote. This election is an
opportunity. It is forbidden to waste it.”
Herzog responded by warning
that a Yacimovich victory would split the party, because so many of its leaders
shun her exclusive focus on socioeconomic issues.
In his speech to the
convention, Mitzna mocked Margalit for endorsing Herzog, saying that he promised
a revolution and brought tragedy.
Earlier on Wednesday, Margalit dropped
his request for an external court to delay the race after it became clear that
he would not win the case.
In a hearing at the Central District Court in
Petah Tikva, Margalit argued that the party’s final membership list should have
been published 42 days before the elections, and the fact that the list had only
been published 12 days before made the vote illegal.
Shmulik Kasoto, asked that the court order Labor to delay the election by 30
“It is the party’s obligation to follow the regulations, and if the
party does not comply with its policies each party member is entitled to apply
and demand that action is taken,” said Kasoto.
However, attorney Yigal
Shapira, representing Labor, slammed Margalit’s decision to bring the petition
“We already hired places for election day and we cannot renege
on those arrangements,” said Shapira.
“And also for the candidates,
people already know the elections are on 12 September and we already reserved
that day. Democracy must accept the majority view and the party’s regulations
must be respected.”
At the end of the hearing, Margalit agreed to drop
the petition even though he maintained that the party’s decision to schedule the
election for September 12 had caused him injustice.
Judge Ofer Grosskopf
agreed to cancel the petition without awarding costs.