(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
A week after winning the leadership of the Labor Party, Avi Gabbay began efforts Monday to build the relationship of him and the party with the international community.
Gabbay’s predecessor, Isaac Herzog, came into the job with strong diplomatic experience and connections that Gabbay lacks. But Gabbay is not content with ignoring world leaders and international forums like MK Shelly Yacimovich did, who was Labor leader before Herzog.
To that end, Gabbay appointed MK Hilik Bar, who is the party’s international secretary, to expand his international outreach efforts and promised to provide the resources to help him succeed.
“I asked Hilik to widen his important international work and prepare a plan of action for the party on the international level,” Gabbay told the Zionist Union faction, which Labor is part of, in the Knesset on Monday. “He will receive all the tools and support he needs from the party and I.”
Gabbay met with Bar over the weekend, complimented his work, and promised to expand the international secretary post, which was held by former MK Colette Avital before Bar. Bar told him that when he spoke at the United Nations last week, he said there was new hope for peace due to Gabbay’s election and many people approached him asking about his party’s new leader.
Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas called Gabbay to congratulate him. The first Diaspora Jewish leader to meet with him
was the chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Malcolm Hoenlein.
Bar intends to introduce Gabbay soon to ambassadors posted in Israel.
He said he would advise him to go abroad soon where there are key international forums upcoming.
“There is interest in the world in the new spirit Gabbay has inspired,” Bar said. “More and more international leaders want to know about him. The fact that he appointed me shows that he cares about the international issue and understands its importance.”