Peretz: 'We decided to give Labor another chance'

Labor MK says he, 3 others who mulled leaving Labor will stay, change faction's constitution; Herzog: "Decision will help rehabilitate party."

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN, JPOST.COM STAFF
January 18, 2011 13:52
2 minute read.
peretz speaking at blich

amir peretz 298 88 ap. (photo credit: AP [file])

Labor MK Amir Peretz on Tuesday announced he and the three other Labor MKs who considered leaving the party have decided that they will stay and negotiate with the remaining party's MKs to "see if we can continue together."

Speaking at a press conference a day after Defense Minister Ehud Barak split from Labor and the party quit the government, Peretz called Barak an "opportunist" who "ridicules" Israel.

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He also praised MKs Ghaleb Majadle, Daniel Ben-Simon, and Eitan Cabel, saying, "they stood strong with me" and "we four exemplify what Israel needs - a cooperation between Arabs and Jews, a commitment to democracy...we stood under pressure and showed it is possible to conduct things differently here."

"We need to give people who say they repented a chance to prove that their penitence is real. We won't let the opportunist Barak take [Israel's first prime minister David] Ben-Gurion's name in vain," Peretz said.

"We could have decided to leave today. We instead decided to give the Labor faction another chance. We did not negotiate with other parties, including Kadima.

"We will talk to the other four MKs. We will insist on changing Labor's constitution. We are giving a chance to go together," he concluded.

The other three Labor MKs followed Peretz's comments, with Ben-Simon saying that the eight MKs together will do everything possible to make the partnership succeed and that another split would have weakened the camp.

Majadle added that the four believe there is a chance to continue together, saying, "We hope our hands will find hands on the other side."

Soon-to-be former minister Isaac Herzog praised the decision of the Labor MKs saying this was a "correct and principled decision that will help rehabilitate the party."
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Until Monday's events regarding the Labor Party, all 4 MKs were dead set on leaving the party. Ben-Simon was the first to change his mind, followed by Majadle and Cabel. Peretz only relented at the end.

After the Labor split, Avishay Braverman on Monday called for Binyamin Ben-Eliezer to be the party's new chairman because of his seniority.

However, the recent decision of the four MKs to stay in the party makes it very unlikely that Ben-Eliezer will be given post as Herzog has also opposed giving it to him.

"I'm against Peretz shooting anyone to the top, even temporarily," Cabel said at the press conference. "We have to start rebuilding the party from page one."


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