(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Veteran Labor MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer ended his political career Thursday by tendering his letter of resignation from the parliament to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein.
Ben-Eliezer told Edelstein that due his medical condition he was unable to properly function as a representative for the public. He said he was emotional about ending a career of 60 years in public service in the IDF and then in politics.
Ben-Eliezer’s decision was principled and correct, Edelstein said.
“You have contributed a lot during your 60 years of service in the army and in the Knesset,” he said. “I value you very much and wish you above all good health.”
The 78-year-old is a decorated former brigadier- general who during his Knesset career rose through the political ranks to become Labor Party chairman and defense minister. But he never ran for prime minister, because Labor held a leadership race two years after he became chairman in which he lost to MK Amram Mitzna.
Ben-Eliezer was hospitalized last week and a hospital representative said then that he was in fair condition with a fever, dispelling initial reports that the 78-year-old was in life-threatening condition.
He rescinded his presidential candidacy in June after police announced an investigation that he wrongfully accepted funds. Sources close to Ben- Eliezer said his resignation had nothing to do with the investigation.
Ben-Eliezer is set to be replaced in the Knesset by his confidant, Danny Atar, head of the Gilboa Regional Council, who was the next name on the Labor list.
But the Knesset dispersed itself Monday and completed legislating bills Wednesday, so Atar will not have much work to do as an MK.