(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Two months after Defense Minister Ehud Barak left the Labor Party reeling – and
celebrating – his surprise departure, the party will hold its first postsplit
convention Sunday to try to jumpstart Labor’s recovery.
RELATED:Labor begins picking up pieces after Barak’s departureInterim Labor Party head calls for leadership race ASAPPremium: The Labor race
currently suffering both financially and politically, saddled with debt and
risking electoral relegation to the position of a small, sectorial party holding
fewer mandates than the Arab parties put together.
Cynics quipped that
after Barak left the party to form Independence, he left behind him not one but
five or six Knesset factions among the eight remaining Labor MKs. Some, in fact,
predicted that the eight MKs would officially split into two or three rival
factions, each centered around a would-be contender for the leadership of the
Two months later, with its eight Knesset seats still intact,
the troubled party will hold a convention on Sunday evening in Herzliya in order
to address a series of pressing issues related to the party’s attempts at
Delegates are expected to vote to repeal the so-called “Barak
Constitution”, a re-working of party bylaws that was pushed through by the
former party chairman in order to shore up his leadership.
delegates are expected to officially approve Micha Harish as temporary party
chairman, while also approving plans to prepare for the election of a new
The party primaries are slated for September 7th, and one of
the technical issues that will be addressed during Sunday’s convention is the
recruitment and registration of party members, a hot contest in advance of a
MK Isaac Herzog, one of two Labor MKs who has already
announced their candidacy to lead the party, pushed his qualifications for the
job during a Saturday event in Beersheba.
“My style is more similar to
those of [US President Barack] Obama, [former British prime minister Tony]
Blair, and [British Prime Minister David] Cameron than other peoples’ styles,”
said the former Welfare Minister.
“In the last week it was proven that
the Labor Party must address two issues that are at the heart of the Israeli
reality – national and social security.
Focusing on one niche alone will
harm Labor,” he added in a slam directed at leadership rival MK Shelly
Yacimovich. Yacimovich is an outspoken and active advocate on social issues, but
has consistently remained close-lipped on foreign policy and security
One heavy-hitter in Labor who will be conspicuously absent at
Sunday’s convention is frequent king-maker MK Binyamin Ben- Eliezer.
Ben-Eliezer, once considered a possible contender to lead the party, is still
hospitalized for a severe respiratory infection.
Over the weekend, his
condition deteriorated to the point at which he was sedated and placed on a
respirator for the second time this month, but his condition improved again late
Saturday, and he regained consciousness.