Labor plans post-primary diplomatic blitz

Labor has focused until now on socioeconomic issues under Gabbay, a decision that has led in part to the party receiving only four to seven seats in polls published over the weekend.

February 9, 2019 21:49
2 minute read.
Labor leader Avi Gabbay speaks to mayors from his party Thursday in Haifa

Labor leader Avi Gabbay speaks to mayors from his party Thursday in Haifa. (photo credit: ELAD GUTMAN)


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The Labor Party intends to begin a campaign focusing on the need for a Palestinian state alongside Israel immediately after its candidates are selected in Monday’s party primary, sources close to Labor leader Avi Gabbay said on Saturday night.

Labor has focused until now on socioeconomic issues under Gabbay, a decision that has led in part to the party receiving only four to seven seats in polls published over the weekend. Instead, the party will focus on the benefits of the two-state solution and Labor’s role in advancing it.
Gabbay released videos over the weekend touting Labor as an ideological party. The videos were seen as an endorsement by Gabbay of the six MKs included: Amir Peretz, Itzik Shmuli, Shelly Yacimovich, Stav Shaffir, Merav Michaeli and Omer Bar Lev.

Sources in Labor said Gabbay also wants Labor members to vote for his political adviser Ilan Lederer and journalist Henrique Cymerman, who has been a diplomatic adviser to Gabbay.

Gabbay hopes Labor will receive a boost from the primary and return to double digits in the polls. Labor received seven seats in polls over the weekend in the Makor Rishon newspaper and Channel 12’s Meet the Press program.

Labor officials denounced as “unprofessional” a Ma’agar Mohot poll that headlined the cover of Friday’s Israel Hayom newspaper, which predicted only four seats for Labor, just above the 3.25% electoral threshold.

Channel 12 reported Saturday about an internal Labor poll that found that Labor merging with Meretz would not be helpful. The poll predicted 10 seats for the parties if they run together and seven for Labor and five for Meretz if they run apart.

The Likud enjoyed a boost in the polls following its primary, which took place on Tuesday. On Sunday, the party’s election committee will convene to approve the results from each polling station and enable them to be published online on the Likud website.

Likud sources said a tentative list of the party’s Knesset candidates could be released Sunday. But there are still many appeals of the list, which will be brought to the election committee on Sunday and the party’s internal court on Monday.

MK Sharren Haskel’s appeal asks to be moved up to 29th on the list, because a slot reserved for a new woman candidate was canceled since new women were elected to slots higher on the list which were reserved for candidates from particular regions. If Haskel’s appeal is accepted, electronic cigarette lobbyist Keren Barak will be moved down on the list.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu supports the effort of the Canadian-born Haskel to move up on the list.

Anti-migrant activist May Golan could also be moved down, because she won a slot reserved for a young candidate, and a young candidate won a higher slot reserved for a candidate from the Negev.

There are also appeals to cancel slots reserved for candidates chosen by Netanyahu and to remove MK Avraham Naguise from the list, because he moved to Israel too late to run for a slot reserved for a new immigrant.

“Netanyahu is trying to get reserved slots in a way that he knows is against the party’s constitution,” said Likud central committee member Shevah Stern, who won the 29th slot on the list reserved for a candidate from Judea and Samaria and appealed against the slots reserved for candidates chosen by Netanyahu.

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