MK Cabel asks Mitzna not to run for Labor leadership

Knesset member said to oppose former party leader's entering race, in a report from Army Radio; Barak said to have asked Mitzna to run.

December 16, 2010 12:17
1 minute read.

Amram Mitzna 311. (photo credit: Ron Friedman)

Labor MK Eitan Cabel asked former party leader Amram Mitzna not to run for in the upcoming party leadership contest, Army Radio reported on Thursday, despite reports that Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer had sought him out to convince him to join the primaries race.

“We have switched leaders so many times and it has never worked, so it doesn’t matter who leads this crazy party anymore,” MK Eitan Cabel said. “I would tell Mitzna: You were already burned once in that job, and next time, the fire can hurt even more.”

Defense Minister and Party chairman Ehud Barak was said to have asked Mitzna to run as contender for Labor's top slot, according Army Radio. However, Barak confident Weitzman Shiri refused to confirm or deny the rumors to Army Radio.

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Sources close to Ben-Eliezer confirmed Wednesday night that the minister had in fact invited Mitzna to run for the position.

“He is the only one who can save the party,” Ben-Eliezer reportedly said about Mitzna.

Ben-Eliezer made the offer after seeing polls that revealed the unpopularity in the general public of the three current candidates for Labor leader: Incumbent Ehud Barak and challengers Isaac Herzog and Avishay Braverman.

A New Wave poll broadcast on Wednesday night found that among the general public, 19 percent preferred Mitzna, 18% MK Shelly Yacimovich, 14% Barak, 12% Herzog and 8% Braverman. The rest declined to answer or had no opinion.

Among Labor voters, Barak received the most support at 25%, followed by Yacimovich with 24%, Mitzna at 16%, Braverman at 13%, and Herzog with 12%. Ben-Eliezer’s associates said he had noticed that Herzog and Braverman were at the bottom of both lists.

Mitzna led Labor from 2002- 2003 after defeating the incumbent Ben-Eliezer in a highly charged race in which Ben-Eliezer often referred to the left-leaning Mitzna as “Yossi Beilin with a beard.”

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