Shelly Yacimovich at the President's residence 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich is getting ready for the possibility that she
might have to defend her title in not one, but two primaries ahead of the next
general election, sources close to Yacimovich said on Monday.
announced Monday that she hoped a November 14 primary would be approved at a
Labor convention that is expected to be held on July 28. But she also said Labor
bylaws permit another primary to be held in the months ahead of a general
In 2001, then-defense minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer defeated
then-Knesset speaker Avraham Burg to become Labor leader, but in another primary
the following year, then-Haifa mayor Amram Mitzna beat Ben-Eliezer.
source close to former IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi said Ashkenazi expects
the same scenario to happen again, allowing him to unseat Yacimovich in a second
Yacimovich’s associates said that if she saw multiple
polls ahead of the next general election indicating that Labor could win 15 more
seats if Ashkenazi replaced her at the helm of the party, she would not prevent
another primary from being held.
“I would not force myself where I am not
wanted,” she said in a closed conversation.
The three candidates against
Yacimovich in the current race – MKs Isaac Herzog, Eitan Cabel and Erel Margalit
– met at Margalit’s house in the capital’s Ein Kerem neighborhood on Monday to
plan strategy against her.
They all oppose Yacimovich’s efforts to block
new members from joining the party and voting in the primary.
was asked in radio interviews whether she would join Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu’s government after the primary. She responded with an emphatic no,
saying she would only enter the coalition if a peace agreement with the
Palestinians was reached and up for a vote.
In a joyous post on her
official Facebook page, Yacimovich celebrated passing 100,000 likes. In doing
so, she joined Netanyahu, Finance Minister Yair Lapid, MK Avigdor Liberman and
model Bar Refaeli among the few Israelis who have achieved that feat.