Labor candidates slam Peretz after reports of fraud

200 new Labor members were registered with identical phone numbers, were unaware they were joining political party, 'Yediot' reports.

311_ amir peretz (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski/The Jerusalem Post))
311_ amir peretz
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski/The Jerusalem Post))
Labor Party leadership candidates slammed MK Amir Peretz (Labor) on Friday, after Yediot Aharonot reported that Peretz fraudulently recruited party members.
MK Isaac Herzog (Labor) called the report “disturbing,” and demanded that retired judge Sarah Frisch, who is investigating the party’s methods in recruiting members, “receive the tools to thoroughly check each [membership] form.”
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According to the Yediot report, 527 new Labor members were registered by Peretz aides Avi Deri and Moshe Peretz in the mostly haredi town of Netivot, where, in the last elections, only 197 residents voted Labor.
The paper reported that 200 of the new members were registered with identical phone numbers, and spoke to Netivot residents that were unaware of their new membership in the Labor Party. Additionally, other new party members told Yediot that they did not pay to join Labor, even though it is illegal for a party to pay new registrants’ fees.
Last week, Channel 2 reported similar discrepancies with new Arab and Druse Labor members. Frisch was appointed to investigate the claims of misconduct.
Yacimovich said she is concerned about the report, which “cast a shadow on the democratic process and requires the Labor Party to thoroughly check the membership drive.
“Old and new members that identify with the party’s values are now responsible to participate in the primaries, so their votes will be a counterweight to this phenomenon,” Yacimovich continued.
Mitzna called the report’s allegations “serious and unsurprising, since I warned of this weeks ago.”
“To my knowledge, this is just the tip of the iceberg, and a phenomenon that exists in additional places,” Mitzna added. “The truth can’t be swept under the rug, and we must check each and every membership form.”
He continued, “The way the head of the party is chosen will determine whether our future will be positive or negative. I believe in the abilities of the committee headed by Judge Frisch to do everything possible so the choice of leader and candidate for prime minister will be clean and without outside influences.”
“We must ensure that the vote in September is clean,” Herzog added. “During Judge Frisch’s planned meeting with the candidates on Monday, she must present a clear outline of how she plans to ensure the accuracy of the membership drive.” Herzog also warned the other candidates not to “take advantage of the situation for personal interests, which could unnecessarily harm the party.”
The list of Labor leadership candidates was finalized on Thursday. In addition to Peretz, Herzog, Yacimovich and Mitzna, Jerusalem venture capitalist Erel Margalit is in the race to run at the head of the party.