Yacimovich and Herzog.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Labor Party convention delegates voted by a wide margin Sunday to permit Isaac Herzog to lead the party until at least July 2017, when the next leadership race is held.
The election was supposed to be held this past May, but was postponed a second time by the 750 to 402 vote.
Earlier Sunday, rowdy party delegates caused an abrupt end to the convention in Tel Aviv, preventing Herzog from speaking by shouting “Herzog, go home!” He responded by comparing them to the violent, right-wing Beitar Jerusalem soccer organization La Familia.
“I am not going anywhere,” Herzog shouted defiantly. “We will show them that we who are unwilling to surrender to violence and bullying are the silent majority.”
Labor secretary-general MK Hilik Bar ended the convention with no further speeches, and commenced voting on Herzog’s proposal to extend his tenure until next July, and a rival proposal by MK Erel Margalit to hold a party primary in December 2016.
Herzog’s rival, MK Shelly Yacimovich, released a statement saying: “Herzog’s threat to expel people from the party, as well as his whining about being booed, are the opposite of leadership.”
Labor MK Eitan Cabel called the proceedings “unprecedented in the party’s long history,” while MK Miki Rosenthal said what he had witnessed made him feel uncomfortable in a party that was “committing suicide on live television.”
Earlier in the day likely leadership contender Margalit released a regional peace plan that will be distributed in Arabic and announced that he would embark on a campaign to have citizens from across the region endorse it.
“If governments do not move their people forward, we will reach out to the people to encourage them to push their governments,” Margalit said.
At a press conference, Margalit said the plan would be sent to thousands of decision-makers and business executives in the Middle East, and that it would reach millions of citizens in Arab countries who are ready to reject extremists and live in peace.
The plan includes an outline of Israel’s security, economic and national interests, and calls for converging these interests with those of neighboring countries via regional economic cooperation, such as industrial and commercial zones, the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip, regional hi-tech networks, water projects and a regional airport.
“We need to stop talking about a romanticized version of peace with butterflies and laughing children – a love story where people walk hand in hand,” he said. “We need to reach an agreement motivated by common interests.
As in the world of business, interests need to converge for a relationship to be formed.”