Amram Mitzna 311.
(photo credit: Ron Friedman)
After trying unsuccessfully to woo Histadrut labor federation chief Ofer Eini to
run for Labor Party leader, Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin
Ben-Eliezer asked former party chairman Amram Mitzna last week to seek the job
again, sources close to Ben-Eliezer confirmed on Wednesday
Ben-Eliezer has said publicly that he wants Mitzna to join the
party’s leadership. But he went further on a visit to Yeroham when he told
Mitzna privately that he would like to see him at the top of Labor’s electoral
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“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
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
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
After he lost the 2003 general election to Ariel Sharon by a wide
margin and declined joining a national-unity government, Mitzna was deposed from
the Labor leadership.
Then-interior minister Ophir Paz-Pines appointed
him acting mayor of Yeroham in 2005. His replacement was elected last
Barak’s associates said he had met with Mitzna several times over
the past few months and urged him to return to national politics. But they said
Barak intended to run for re-election as Labor leader and denied reports that he
saw Mitzna as his eventual successor.
Opponents of Barak in Labor said it
was too late to fix the party no matter who would lead it.
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