Senior Labor MKs fought over whether to join the coalition or not on Sunday,
accusing each other of overthrowing party leader Shelly Yacimovich, after
publicly denying that the knives were out on Thursday.
Sources close to
MK Isaac Herzog and MK Eitan Cabel, Nos. 2 and 3 on Labor’s list, accused each
other of pressuring Yacimovich to join Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s
coalition, while both sides said MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer is part of the
Late in Labor’s campaign, Yacimovich announced that she would not
join Netanyahu’s coalition because his ideology and policies are incompatible
Cabel said Sunday that he supports Yacimovich’s policy of not
entering the government, unless a situation that he described as “unlikely”
takes place, in which Netanyahu decides to forms a secular
“With [Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali] Bennett and the haredim,
we don’t have a reason to be there,” he stated.
A spokesman for Herzog
said the MK is not trying to pressure Yacimovich, nor is he speaking to the
press about the coalition-opposition debate, because Herzog is aware of the
criticism he and others in the party received after serving as ministers in the
previous government, before Labor moved to the opposition.
Labor’s new MKs worked on Sunday to make sure Yacimovich would keep her promise
to stay out of the government.
“Shelly is against joining the coalition,
but people are pressuring her,” incoming lawmaker Michal Biran explained. “We’re
putting opposite pressure.”
According to Biran, most of the party’s MKs
agree with Yacimovich and oppose joining the coalition, but a few are trying to
influence her otherwise.
Biran organized a demonstration of young Labor
activists that favor staying in the opposition, which is set to take place
before the party’s faction meeting on Monday morning.
Cabel and others are staying coy about the possibility of running against
Yacimovich in a Labor leadership race that could take place in 14 months,
according to the party’s bylaws.
Cabel was surprised on Sunday morning to
see a Yediot Aharonot article reporting he was already planning a coup
The Labor MK denied the report, adding that he does not know who
is behind it.
A source close to Herzog said that, while it is early to
think about a primary, it would be “natural” for him to run for Labor’s
leadership and that many in the party have asked him about the
Biran was adamant that Labor is not dealing with a possible
primary and supports Yacimovich.
“We stand by Shelly, and want to help
her finish the process of rehabilitating the party,” she said.