(photo credit: Omer Messinger)
It’s no more mister nice guy for Labor leadership candidate Isaac Herzog.
Herzog, who has a reputation for being one of the friendliest politicians in Israeli politics, decided to present a different side of himself ahead of the September 12 Labor primary.
The slogan he unveiled at a rally Monday night in Tel Aviv was “Strong in Labor,” referring to both his work ethic and the party. The slogan aims to counteract perceptions that he is weak.
Alongside the slogan, Herzog’s campaign posters feature him making a face that is uncharacteristically unsmiley. His face in the photo is serious and borderline mean.
“I am not a yeled tov Yerushalayim
,” Herzog said after the event, using an idiom for a goody-two-shoes. “I am a serious leader.”
Herzog came into the hall to hip-hop music from the band Hadag Nachash. Some 20 Labor activists took turns endorsing him, including Yom Kippur War hero Zvika Greengold and Avi Bitzur, who was one of the men closest to Herzog’s main competition for the Labor leadership, MK Amir Peretz.
Without mentioning his opponents by name, Herzog said one of them, Amram Mitzna, recently said he is not sure if Labor is still relevant. Another, Peretz, started building a base in another party, and a third, Shelly Yacimovich, would make Labor into a niche party.
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Herzog apologized for not leaving Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government sooner. He warned that Netanyahu and Lieberman were leading to a third Intifada and international isolation.
He took credit for showing former Labor chairman Ehud Barak the door, while urging former Barak supporters to back him and join the new “centrist camp” in the party that he intends to lead.
“The first thing I intend to do after I get elected is work so that all the candidates stay in the party,” he said. “I will offer the other candidates a partnership in decision- making. We need to be able to work together. The public is sick of seeing us fight.”
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