Labor Party 521 (do not publish again).
(photo credit: Flash 90)
The Labor Party could surpass Kadima as Israel’s second largest party if the
Labor leadership candidates tell the truth about the number of new members they
registered in a membership drive set to end Tuesday.
The six candidates
in the September 12 Labor primary are expected to bring in their last crates
full of membership forms to the party’s headquarters in Kfar Saba on Tuesday in
a registration drive that could decide the race.
Hilik Bar, who does not support any of the candidates, estimated that as of
Monday night, his party’s membership rolls had risen from 27,000 before the
drive to some 60,000. He said he expected the candidates to bring in many more
forms on Tuesday but nowhere near the numbers they have been boasting.
Amir Peretz’s campaign estimated his drive at 20,000, MK Shelly Yacimovich
promised 17,000, MK Isaac Herzog 12,000, former Labor leader Amram Mitzna 8,000,
Union of Local Authorities in Israel head Shlomo Buhbut 5,000, and Jerusalem
venture capitalist Erel Margalit 4,000.
Two Labor strongmen who do not
support any candidate, Histadrut Labor Federation chief Ofer Eini and MK
Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, said they have brought in 10,000 members, making a total
of 76,000 members not including the 27,000 who were in the party before the
The 103,000 members that Labor would have if the candidates, Eini
and Ben-Eliezer are telling the truth would pass the 102,000 members Kadima has,
according to a source familiar with official statistics in the party. Likud
director- general Gadi Arieli said his party had 137,000 members, which makes it
Bar said he believed Kadima was lying about its numbers,
which he said were closer to 80,000. Yet he said he still does not believe
Labor’s final numbers would surpass those of Kadima when all the votes are
counted and members who illegally joined both parties are eliminated.
don’t care if we pass Kadima,” Bar said. “I care that we are
Nevertheless, he was optimistic about the party’s growth and
“The amount of members joining Labor proves the party
really won’t die. We are alive and kicking.”
Bohbut said he came
back to Labor two months ago, and he has succeeded in persuading people across
the country to join him.
“I have brought quality people who could be
candidates for the next Knesset,” Bohbut said. “I hope with these new people we
can have an impact. All of the candidates are good people and Labor members will
choose who can best take the party forward.”
Bohbut said he did not
believe Labor’s leader could be prime minister in the next election but he said
if the leader handles himself intelligently, the election after that could be
“If we get 20 seats in this election, we can elect the prime
minister next time,” Bohbut said. “And I know that I personally can bring Labor