Mitzna endorses Peretz, Herzog stays neutral in Labor race

"Maintaining unity" is more important than personal interest, Labor MK says; Mitzna says looking for candidate working toward peace.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
September 17, 2011 21:11
1 minute read.
Isaac Herzog

Herzog 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])

 
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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.

"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 preference."

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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 statement

Former MK Amram Mitzna who finished last in Monday's primaries, threw his support behind MK Amir Peretz Saturday night.

Explaining his decision, Mitzna said that he was looking to support someone who would work to pursue peace and who is connected to the periphery.

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