The Labor Party will hold a convention in Tel Aviv on Sunday to begin the
process of electing new institutions for the party.
The list of items on
the meeting’s agenda appears at first glance to be technical and procedural. But
opponents of Labor leader Shelly Yechimovich said they amount to nothing less
than her initiating a “hostile takeover” of the party.
Yechimovich wants to add loyalists to the party’s supreme internal court and
enable some new Labor central committee members to be chosen by the secretariat
of Labor’s executive committee, which is made up entirely of Yechimovich
The convention will set the amount of central committee members
each Labor branch receives in part by how many voters each branch brought to the
polls in the last general election. But loyalists of MK Amir Peretz say it is
unfair to go by the 2009 election, a time when the party was led by Ehud Barak,
who scared away many longtime Labor voters as well as voters in the periphery of
Peretz’s allies said the 2006 election when Labor was led by
Peretz should be used instead, but Yechimovich rejected that idea.
is taking over the party,” a source close to Peretz said. “She is trying to make
it into the Shelly party and it’s too bad. There needs to be a variety of
people, not just her yes-men. We want there to be real democracy in the
Veteran members of the party have warned that Yechimovich has
been quietly forcing them out of the leadership of branches across the
They said she formed teams of volunteers in each city that she
will later use to take over branches from their longtime members.
source close to Yechimovich called the allegations nonsense. The source said
Labor’s bylaws require an election to be held for new institutions, but the
elections have been repeatedly delayed so none have been held in eight
“Labor needs elections like [people need] oxygen to breathe,” a
Yechimovich loyalist said. “Shelly brought so many people to the party who have
been working very hard, and it’s time to officially make them part of our
The Labor party said in response that its elections will
be held according to the party constitution which requires a vote every four
“These elections reflect the democratic spirit according to which
Labor operates and will enable thousands of Labor members to have influence and
advance the party,” it said in a released statement.
“The convention will
be run fairly by former justice minister David Liba’i with full transparency.”
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