Peace Now head announces Labor Party run

Oppenheimer to bring diplomatic issues to party; Right-wing MKs say announcement reveals Labor as left-wing extremists.

October 22, 2012 14:11
2 minute read.
Yariv Oppenheimer

Yariv Oppenheimer 370. (photo credit: Facebook)


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Peace Now Executive-Director Yariv Oppenheimer announced he is running in the Labor primary on Monday, bringing diplomatic issues to the fore in a campaign that, thus far, has focused on social issues.

"In addition to the social agenda, the Labor Party must raise the diplomatic flag and fight against the expansion of settlement construction and waves of anti-democratic legislation that the Israeli Right is leading," Oppenheimer said after resigning from his post in Peace Now on Monday.

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Thus far, Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich has focused almost exclusively on social issues.

The party's campaign advertising consists of billboards and online advertisements featuring signs from last summer's demonstrations with messages like "children are not a luxury," "we're fighting for our homes," and "our money went to tycoons."

Yacimovich has only publicly backed primary candidates involved in social issues, like former National Union of Israeli Students chairman Itzik Shmuli, one of the leaders of the 2011 protests, and reporter Miki Rosenthal, who produced an acclaimed documentary on the Ofer family and market concentration.

In addition, Yacimovich's campaign has repeatedly said they want to "move past typical right and left politics" and focus on the economy.

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Oppenheimer, who served as Peace Now executive-director for the past nine years, introduced his campaign slogan on Monday - "A strong opponent against the Right" - a play on his first name, Yariv, which means opponent or rival.

"In the last four years, the right has harmed Israeli society's democratic values, deepened hatred and racism, passed anti-democratic laws and destroyed any chance of diplomatic progress," he said.

The Peace Now leader called for Labor to present a "clear, sharp front" on diplomatic matters, adding that this is why he decided to run for the party's Knesset list, and promising to wave the diplomatic flag.

Oppenheimer, 35, has been a Labor member since age 17 and is running in the party primary for the third time. Previously, he was too low on the Labor list to make it into the Knesset.

Meanwhile, right-wing MKs slammed Oppenheimer and Labor following his announcement.

According to MK Danny Danon (Likud), Yacimovich and Oppenheimer are endangering Israel's future.

"Oppenheimer is a left-wing extremist and anarchist, whose values suit Meretz or Hadash," Danon said. "Labor's real face under Yacimovich's leadership has been revealed. She wants to cut Israel's territory in half and bring terror and our enemies closer to our central cities."

MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima) said Oppenheimer's announcement "removes the mask from Labor's face and sticks on its forehead its true identity as a totally left-wing party that wants to return to pre-'67 lines and give away most of Jerusalem."

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