Labor ‘rebels’ are now split – on whether to split

MKs Amir Peretz and Eitan Cabel, whose allies have already started registering members for Kadima, reportedly still favor leaving.

January 18, 2011 03:51
2 minute read.
Labor Rebels - Majadle, Peretz, Ben-Simon, Cabel

Labor Rebels 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Former Labor chairman Ehud Barak’s fiercest critics in the Labor faction tried several unsuccessful maneuvers over the past year in an attempt to break off and leave the party.

But it ended up being Barak himself who left the party first, along with four allies.

Soon-to-be former ministers Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, Isaac Herzog and Avishay Braverman, as well as MK Shelly Yacimovich, announced on Monday that they intend to remain in Labor and try to rehabilitate the party.

But the fate of the four MKs who until Barak’s departure were referred to as “Labor rebels” remained unclear at press time on Monday night.

The lawmakers denied a Channel 2 report that they had already decided to leave the faction as a group.

MK Ghaleb Majadle said he was determined to stay in Labor. MK Daniel Ben-Simon, who just last week tried to break off into a one-man faction, said there was no longer a reason to leave the party.

But MKs Amir Peretz and Eitan Cabel, whose allies have already started registering members for Kadima, reportedly still favor leaving.

The four MKs met late on Monday night in an effort to decide their future. They were expected to make a decision by Tuesday and announce it in a press conference.

Ben-Eliezer, Herzog, Braverman and Yacimovich called upon them to stay but were unsuccessful in organizing a meeting of all of Labor’s eight remaining MKs.

Ben-Simon said he now realized that one of the reasons Barak wanted him to leave the faction last week was that if Ben-Simon left Labor with 12 MKs, Barak would only need four MKs to obtain the third of a faction legally required for a split without the party’s okay. He claimed that at the time, deputy defense minister Matan Vilna’i had not yet agreed to leave Labor, but a source close to Barak refuted the claim.

Cabel accused Barak and his allies of “destroying Labor once and for all.” He said he was unaware of Barak’s move but it did not surprise him, because he believes Barak has been working against the party’s interests for two years.

Barak’s former bureau chief Eldad Yaniv, who formed a movement called the Nationalist Left, announced on Monday that following Barak’s departure, he intends to formally register his movement as a party next week.

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