Labor presented its securitydiplomatic platform on Sunday, though party leader
Shelly Yacimovich said socioeconomic issues are her priority.
losing our moral compass as a society. Without social and economic issues at the
fore, even peace won’t let us fulfill the Zionist dream. A fair society is a
condition for maintaining a Zionist state,” Yacimovich stated.
conference followed reports in recent weeks of criticism from within Labor that
Yacimovich did not sufficiently address these issues.
The central points
of Labor’s security-diplomatic platform include an immediate return to peace
talks without preconditions, strengthening relations with the West and
rehabilitating and initiating new connections with moderate Muslim
“We joined the last [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu
government with promises of a diplomatic breakthrough,” former defense minister
MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who helped compose the platform, said.
years were wasted, and nothing happened.
Netanyahu and [former foreign
minister Avigdor] Liberman are the main reason for our isolation and the
Ben-Eliezer called to “take steps
strengthening Israel to make sure we’re a strong country with a strong army and
a clear Jewish majority, not a binational state.”
The former defense
minister warned that, without a peace agreement, Israel could “turn into an
apartheid state and lose our legitimacy as the country of the Jewish
According to MK Isaac Herzog (Labor), “Netanyahu says he wants
two states for two nations, but he hasn’t done anything about
“Dialogue only has advantages, especially when it comes to
international legitimization,” Yacimovich said.
Labor prefers an
agreement according to the “Clinton outline,” and would be willing to begin
talks without preconditions.
Yacimovich explained that the party would
preserve settlement blocs, and, while there would be no preconditions for
negotiations, some basic commitments would be necessary to reach an agreement,
such as ending armed conflict.
“Working toward peace and recognizing a
two-state solution has nothing to do with hatred for settlers, especially since
they were sent there by governments, including Labor governments,” she
The word “settlers” was not mentioned once in the security-
diplomatic platform, but Labor’s general platform mentions paying those who live
outside the major blocs to voluntarily evacuate their homes.
Jerusalem, Yacimovich emphasized that Jewish neighborhoods would remain a part
of Israel, and accused Netanyahu of undermining areas that are in consensus, or
“in the Clinton outline,” by announcing construction before elections, as though
it was a punishment for the Palestinian Authority for pursuing statehood
recognition at the UN.
In addition, Ben-Eliezer’s plan says that Israel
must make a coalition with “sane” Middle Eastern countries, improving relations
with Egypt and Turkey and building ties with North African and Gulf
In connection to Iran, Labor says all efforts must be made,
including sanctions, to stop the Islamic Republic from developing nuclear
weapons, but that all options must remain on the table.
security-diplomatic platform says that Israel must not get involved in the
“complex crisis” in Syria. However, transfer of unconventional weapons from
Syria to Hezbollah is “a red line that must be prevented.”
The party also
discussed relations with the West and the importance of soft
“Think about this when you go to the voting booth,” Herzog said.
“The day after the election, the person who was voted in will have to work with
[US President Barack] Obama and [US] Secretary of State John Kerry, who won’t
want more delaying. They’ll want a peace process.”
According to Herzog,
Netanyahu will be unable to work with Obama and Kerry, but Labor can.
Nachman Shai, who moved from Kadima to Labor, criticized Netanyahu’s constant
use of the word “strong” in his campaign.
“We can’t just live off of
tanks and planes. There’s also soft power, a country’s values that determine its
international status,” Shai, who wrote his dissertation on public diplomacy,
explained. “The terminology of power that the prime minister and foreign
minister use deeply harms Israel’s international status.”
Shai called for
a “new order” in international relations, in which Israel declares it is strong
militarily, but also emphasizes its Zionist vision, its Jewish morals and the
values that tie it to other countries around the world.