Former chairman Mitzna to decide soon on Labor run

Amram Mitzna may join MKs Herzog, Yacimovich and Peretz, 2 others competing for the Labor leadership race.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
April 18, 2011 03:04
1 minute read.
Amram Mitzna (left) with Mahmoud Abbas

abbas. (photo credit: marc israel sellem)

 
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The Labor leadership race could soon get even more crowded if former party chairman Amram Mitzna decides to seek the post he held from 2002 to 2003.

Three current MKs are already running: Isaac Herzog, Shelly Yacimovich and Amir Peretz. At least two outsiders are also eying the position: Union of Local Authorities in Israel chairman Shlomo Buhbut and businessman Erel Margalit.

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Mitzna said he would decide whether to run by the first week of May, in order to make sure he would have enough time to compete in the effort to sign up new members in Labor’s voter registration drive, which ends June 7.

“I still have more to look into before making my decision,” Mitzna said. “I am not leaning in one direction or another about whether to run. It really is 50-50.”

MK Daniel Ben-Simon, who supports Peretz, said he would welcome a decision by Mitzna to run. Mitzna called Herzog last week to express sympathy following a derogatory headline in Haaretz that implied that he was anti-Sephardi. The newspaper ran another negative headline Sunday, this time suggesting that Herzog had something against Arabs.

The latest article quoted a cable that, according to WikiLeaks, had been sent by US diplomats to Washington. It included an analysis that Herzog gave in the 2006 election when Labor’s candidate for prime minister was Peretz.

According to the article, Herzog complained about Peretz’s left-of-center positions “such as embracing the Oslo Accords and his commitment to appoint an Arab-Israeli minister.”

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The newspaper did not call Herzog for a response.

Herzog vigorously denied everything in the article, just like he did last week. He told Army Radio he had no idea why the newspaper was targeting him with two negative lead headlines in one week.

“It is unfortunate that Haaretz did not make headlines of all I did to fight poverty when I was social welfare minister,” Herzog lamented.

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