(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
MK Isaac Herzog who finished a strong third in the first round in the
Labor leadership race Monday, announced on Saturday night that he and
his political ally, venture capitalist Erel Margalit, would not endorse
any candidate in Wednesdays run-off race between MKs Shelly Yacimovich
and Amir Peretz. Former MK Amram Mitzna in an announcement later Saturday, threw his support behind MK Amir Peretz.
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"Maintaining unity in the party and preventing a
split is our top priority above any personal interest," they said in a
joint statement. "That is why we call upon our supporters to vote for
Labor's chairman according to their conscience and their personal
Herzog made his decision after groups of his supporters each called upon
him to support one candidate or the other. The Labor members from
kibbutzim and well-off cities would have objected to him endorsing
Peretz, and his supporters from the Arab and Druse sectors would have
been angered if he would have backed Yacimovich.
In response to the announcement, Peretz praised Herzog's decision to
remain neutral in the race. Peretz "intends to cooperate with Herzog in
the future for the good of the Labor Party and the State of Israel in
raising the flag of peace and social justice," a spokesman said in a
Former MK Amram Mitzna who finished last in Monday's primaries, threw his support behind MK Amir Peretz Saturday night.
his decision, Mitzna said that he was looking to support someone who
would work to pursue peace and who is connected to the periphery.