Mitzna’s political future not clear if he loses Labor race

Attacks Yacimovich as ‘trendy candidate’ who is not ready for leadership, says she has good Knesset record, but little experience.

September 7, 2011 04:55
2 minute read.

Amram Mitzna 311. (photo credit: Ron Friedman)


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Labor leadership candidate Amram Mitzna declined to say at a Jerusalem parlor meeting on Tuesday whether he would submit his candidacy for the next Knesset if he loses Monday’s Labor leadership race.

All four of the other candidates have said they are in politics for the long haul, including venture capitalist Erel Margalit, who is new to the field. But Mitzna, who would be 68 if the next Knesset election was held on time in 2013, hinted that his political career could end if he lost the contest.

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“If I am not elected, I will be a Labor party member like I am today,” Mitzna said when asked about his future by a young Labor activist named Rumi.

Asked afterward what he says to supporters who want him to be part of Labor’s leadership along with the other candidates – even if he won’t head the party’s next Knesset slate – he said that it was too soon to say.

Mitzna devoted his address at the party’s Jerusalem branch in the capital’s Rehavia neighborhood to his experience as mayor of Haifa and Yeroham, as an IDF general and the advantage he has over the other candidates that he has credentials on all key issues.

He blasted MK Shelly Yacimovich for having nothing to say on key issues like diplomacy, security, education and the separation of religion and state. He belittled support for her as “trendy” and compared her to the Pensioners Party, which won seven seats as a political fad.

“Her record in the Knesset is impressive, but chairman of the party?” Mitzna asked.

“Has she in her life managed more than two people? If you have a business, don’t you want the person who runs it to be someone who has run something in the past?” Mitzna said Yacimovich “has a problem working as [part of] a team,” and warned that if she would be elected, half of Labor’s eight remaining MKs would break off from the party. He also referred to the age of the 51-year-old MK.

“Little by little,” he said. “You are a young lady, you still have time.”

The five candidates will face off Wednesday night at a Labor convention at the party’s headquarters in Kfar Saba. Before the event, Margalit will ask the Petah Tikva District Court on Wednesday afternoon to delay the primary for technical reasons.

Yacimovich asked the court on Tuesday to add her as a respondent to Margalit’s request, so she could argue against postponing the race.

“Labor must immediately choose a leader to face the many challenges standing before the party, stop stretching out the election period like a stick of gum, and allow a democratic decision to be made,” Yacimovich said.

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