Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich 370.
(photo credit: Artiom Degel)
Continuing and outgoing Labor MKs gave mixed responses as to whether party
chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich would have to fight to protect her leadership after
only raising Labor from 13 seats in the 18th Knesset to an estimated 15 in the
Yacimovich took to Facebook to reassure her supporters that Labor
is still strong and there is a chance to form a center-left
"The final result - 15 seats - is much more than what any one
dreamed a year and a half ago, but still disappointing," she admitted. "we
wanted a much larger public to go with us on the path we chose, which is not
simple, but so just." The Labor leader wrote that she would do all she could to
build a social, peace-loving coalition without Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu, and called for Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid not to join Netanyahu's
government, because it would "shatter the middle class." "If Lapid will
participate in an alternative coalition, I will aid him. If not, we will lead,
together with our excellent faction, a fighting opposition like no other,"
MK Isaac Herzog, second on the party list and a
Yacimovich ally, told Army Radio not to expect too much drama in
"People expect the knives to come out the day after the election,
but there is so much to do in the whole country before we deal with our own
'swamp,'" he said.
However, MK Eitan Cabel, third on the list, said
Yacimovich is responsible for the low outcome and, in an interview with Israel
Radio, pointed out the rule in the party's constitution that, if Labor does not
form the government, it must hold a party primary in 14 months.
expect her to resign. I'm not walking around with a knife, and I say that
clearly," Cabel stated. "The results are disappointing, and we will meet and
make decisions." Meanwhile, outgoing MK Daniel Ben-Simon, 22nd on the list,
expressed frustration with Yacimovich's leadership and tactics, which led Labor
to losing its best chances of winning in 20 years.
"Instead of being the
first party, we are a distant third. I feel sad today not personally, but for my
country," he said. "I thought four months ago that we would take over, that the
country supported the new Labor Party. We had polls of 25 seats, and there was
enthusiasm that we were beginning a new chapter." Ben-Simon explained that Labor
is known for waving two flags - social and diplomatic - but Yacimovich decided
to leave the peace process out of the election campaign, which he contends lost
the party five seats from those who saw Labor as an address for
"What I saw this morning sickened me. We, who were supposed to be
the address of the poor, got almost no support in the development towns. They
were supposed to be our new voters. We lost them, and we lost people who wanted
peace," he said.
Using imagery from the world of witchcraft, Ben-Simon
described Labor as "under [Yacimovich's] spell" and blindly listening to her
directives to ignore the peace process.
Ben-Simon referred to Labor MKs'
tough treatment of the party's previous leader, Defense Minister Ehud Barak,
saying that he would have wished to receive what Labor members gave
"We gave her everything and got 15 seats in return," he
The outgoing MK accused Yacimovich about making the campaign
"all about Shelly, a one-woman show," while ignoring the rest of the party's
"The election was a confidence vote in one woman who wanted to be
prime minister," he stated. "It was about whether people liked Shelly.
Unfortunately, more people disliked her than liked her." Hinting at the expected
primary in 14 months, Ben-Simon said he hopes Yacimovich "reaches the
appropriate conclusions," adding he "expects Labor to find a person who can
carry the authentic Labor Party message and try once again to reach the hearts
of Israelis." "It's a sad day for people who wanted to see Labor run this
country again," Ben-Simon concluded.