311_ amir peretz.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski/The Jerusalem Post))
Labor MKs Amir Peretz and Eitan Cabel will have to wait until next week to find
out whether they will be permitted to challenge Ofer Eini for the chairmanship
of the Histadrut Labor Federation.
In a session in Tel Aviv described by
Peretz as stormy, an internal Histadrut court of three judges canceled
Wednesday’s hearing – which was expected to decide whether Cabel and Peretz
could run – because the Histadrut’s elections committee did not have the
authority to summon the MKs to the hearing.
The court ruled that the
elections committee must meet with Peretz and Cabel within three days to hear
their defense against the committee’s charges that they forged the signatures of
hundreds of Histadrut members on forms enabling them to run.
days of that meeting, the committee must decide whether the two will be
permitted to run in the May 22 election. If the committee decides to bar either
of them from running, they may return to the court.
Peretz called the
court’s decision a victory for him and Cabel, because it criticized the
elections committee. The court questioned why the committee dismissed signatures
as forgeries based on phone calls checking their authenticity, instead of
visiting the workers and asking them personally whether they had signed the
The judges also questioned why Peretz’s candidacy was not
approved, despite his submission of more than the 5,000 required membership
forms – whose authenticity has not been questioned.
responded that out of the workers they had questioned so far, 30 percent had
been disqualified, and if that trend continued, Peretz would not be left with
enough signatures to run.
A spokesman for the committee said the hearing
was not required but offered to Peretz and Cabel as a service, and therefore the
committee did not have a problem with its cancellation. The spokesman expressed
satisfaction with the court’s decision to reject Peretz’s request to disqualify
Peretz’s lawyer, Ilan Bombach, said he would continue to
pursue the committee’s disqualification, due to what he called its undemocratic
management, improper work methods and lack of objectivity.
“If this is
how the committee behaves during the technical process of authorizing
candidates, how can it be trusted to count the votes on election night?” Bombach
The Tel Aviv District Court will decide next Monday whether Cabel
can run in the election, even though he did not pay his Histadrut membership
dues for the required amount of time. Peretz has said that if Cabel is permitted
to run, he would drop out of the race and support him in an effort to defeat
Eini, his political nemesis.