Shelly Yacimovich at Labor HQ 311.
(photo credit: Gil Hoffman)
Newly-elected Labor chairman Shelly Yacimovich will meet with her former
political patron and current arch rival, MK Amir Peretz, on Tuesday in an effort
to mend fences.
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Yacimovich and Peretz, who were once close, sparred
frequently throughout the eight-month campaign. But they will need to work
together now in order to prevent a second split in Labor, which already lost
five MKs when Defense Minister Ehud Barak and four of his allies left in
Top Peretz supporter calls Labor primary results racist
Peretz sent an olive branch to Yacimovich at an event he held to
thank his supporters at Tel Aviv’s kibbutz seminar center. But he conditioned
his support on her running the party properly and not in the autocratic style of
“Shelly, you have a tremendous responsibility,” Peretz said. “We
are stretching our hand to you. If you lead transparently, you will find
disciplined partners who will stand with you in the struggles
Peretz warned Yacimovich to “avoid [Binyamin] Netanyahu’s
embrace” and keep the party in the opposition. He expressed concern that
the results of the race showed that opposite sectors backed the two candidates
with very little overlap.
“The results show Israeli society is diverse
and stays in its camp,” Peretz said. “It would be very easy to take steps that
would deepen that rift, but we shouldn’t.”
Peretz noted how far he came
from the political desert following the Winograd Report that deemed his handling
of the Second Lebanon War a failure and his subsequent ouster from the party
chairmanship and Defense Ministry by Barak.
“No one could have achieved
what we did, considering where we were before,” he told the
activists. “We are in a position where we can work and
Labor MKs Eitan Cabel, Ghaleb Majadle and Daniel Ben-Simon, who
backed Peretz throughout the campaign, and MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who
supported him behind the scenes, came to show support.
“Don’t be confused
– Amir, you won the race,” Ben-Eliezer said. “You are one of Labor’s stars. From
now on, the stage is for you and Shelly. You have to work together. Short of
marrying you, I will do everything possible to get you to live
At a pre-Rosh Hashana toast of Barak’s Independence Party,
Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Shalom Simhon mocked Ben-Eliezer and noted
that he once told him that Yacimovich was “a turbine of hate” and that now he
will have to surrender to her will.