Braverman announces Yacimovich support in Labor race

Endorsement is Yacimovich's first; Mitzna supports Peretz, Herzog stays neutral, says "unity" more important than personal interest.

Shelly Yacimovich 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Shelly Yacimovich 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Avishay Braverman became the first lawmaker to endorse Shelly Yacimovich in the Labor leadership race Sunday after four of the faction’s eight legislators backed her rival, MK Amir Peretz, while MK Isaac Herzog declared neutrality.
Peretz persuaded Braverman to enter politics in 2005, but he disappointed him by not declaring him a minister and the former friendship between the two of them was never repaired. Braverman, who had considered running himself, did not endorse any candidate in the first round of voting.
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“He’s not taking revenge,” a source close to Braverman said. “Avishay sincerely believes that Shelly is the best candidate for the job.”
One endorsement that Yacimovich did not advertise was from former minister Salah Tarif, who was convicted of bribery and breach of trust in 2002. Yacimovich spent Saturday with him in the Druse villages where he is a known vote contractor.
MKs Eitan Cabel, Daniel Ben-Simon and Ghaleb Majadle backed Peretz from the start of the race. MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer officially declared neutrality in the first round but nearly all the activists loyal to him worked on Peretz’s behalf and he is now more openly supportive of the former Labor chairman.
Peretz received endorsements Sunday from former minister Moshe Shahal, former deputy defense minister Dalia Rabin, former MKs Nisim Zvili, Edna Solidar and Nadia Hilu, and retired brigadier-general Giora Inbar.
“Labor needs a leader who represents the party’s traditional stance on diplomatic issues along with an emphasis on socioeconomic equality,” Shahal said. “Electing Amir will give us an experienced candidate and enable the party to stay united.”
The most symbolic endorsement for Peretz was that of Rabin, the daughter of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and president of the Rabin Center.
“The public is hungry for an ideological party that will return the legacy of Yitzhak Rabin,” she said.
“We need diplomatic progress and socioeconomic change, funding for poor neighborhoods and not for settlements. Amir has been a loyal member of the Rabin camp for years. He represents the legacy of my father, who reared him and trusted him and I believe in his ability to lead the party.”
Yacimovich received endorsements on Sunday from a long list of mayors and from activists who were loyal to Herzog and Mitzna in the first round, including Mitzna loyalist Israel Savyon, who heads Labor’s Haifa branch, and former MK Gideon Ben-Israel, who heads Labor’s pensioners sector and supported Herzog.
Ofer Cornfeld, Yacimovich’s campaign manager, accused Kadima MK Dalia Itzik on Sunday of interfering in the Labor race. He said dozens of activists who supported Itzik when she was in Labor had received messages from her asking them to oppose Yacimovich in Wednesday’s run-off race.
“Itzik’s interference in the Labor race is understandable, because if Shelly heads Labor, it will be the secondlargest party after Likud and Kadima will be weakened,” Cornfeld said. “But the chairwoman of the Kadima faction should not be allowed to get away with becoming an activist in another party.”