Despite recurring denials by Zionist Union MKs Eitan Cabel and Shelly Yacimovich on an alleged deal, a written agreement between the two was revealed by Channel 2 news on Friday night. According to the station, the two pledged to “assist each other from now on, and to advance their goals and political and public aspirations in any field.”
The accord adds that they will now work in cooperation and in mutual understating “on all aspects of the democratic sphere – the Knesset, the government, the Labor Party and its institutions and all over the public sphere.”
This comes after a tape was revealed on Thursday indicating that Cabel and Yacimovich made a deal to support each other to head the Labor Party and the Histadrut labor federation, respectively.
Cabel reacted to the publication of the document by reiterating his claim that there was no deal with Yacimovich.
“When I said that there was no deal, I meant it. There was never a conversation or sort of communication between Shelly and me in which I supported her to be the Histadrut chairwoman and she supported me in the race. We never made any conditions.”
Cabel then explained why they had to write down the document that was revealed.
“We composed this written agreement as customary in agreements between factions, he said. “We are political people and we are not alone here.
I brought my [Histadrut] faction, so it was needed.”
Yacimovich also commented on the report, saying it indicates that no “[corrupt] deal” was made, and that her support in the race for Labor’s leadership is not promised to anyone.
“It [the agreement] aims to declare general intentions, and it is a product of a serious legal process that will regulate our work in the faction,” she said in a statement. “Anyone who ever saw coalition agreements knows that it is outstanding in its innocence – especially when you compare it to the corrupt oral and written agreements that [Histadrut chairman Avi] Nissenkorn conducted with other factions in the Histadrut in order to prevent the elections.”
Speaking at a cultural event, Nissenkorn slammed the two for lying to the public and dismissed charges that he tried to prevent an open election in the Histadrut.
“It is okay to make deals; I have conducted coalition agreements myself. But it is wrong to lie to the public,” he said. “They are demeaning to me and others. That is wrong. They are also taking the Histadrut and making into a political tool in their game.
We should not let it happen.”
Regarding the upcoming Histadrut election in May, Nissenkorn said that it is a free country and if people from the Histadrut want to make agreements with him, they can.
“Everything is done in transparency,” he said. “The factions in the Histadrut wanted to sign an agreement and not to appoint a candidate on their behalf. Shelly hesitated for a few months [whether to run or not] and when she decided I welcomed her move.
I do not welcome her way of doing it, and anyway I will defeat any opponent.”
In the midst of the crisis in the Labor Party, two players joined the race for leadership over the weekend. Former minister for environmental protection Avi Gabai, who joined the party last December , said that he indents to bring the party a new style of politics.
“I do not act like them, my ways are different,” said Gabai referring to Cabel and Yacimovich on Channel 2 News on Saturday. “I gain my power from the public, not by interacting with other politicians.”
Gabai said that when he joined the party some 4,000 people came along with him.
“People believe in my leadership,” he said. “I can bring back voters who have supported [Yair] Lapid in past elections.
The public discourse I promote talks to them.”
Gabai ended by saying that he understands post of the Labor leader is a potential candidate for the premiership. “I have dozens of years’ experience.
I worked hard with [Moshe] Kahlon on establishing his new [Kulanu] party. I believe that I can do it.”
On Friday, MK Omer Bar- Lev announced as well that he will be running for the post.
“Today I am starting my journey to a new leadership for the State of Israel,” he said in a statement. “My objective is clear – I decided to run because I believe that we can do it differently.”
Bar-Lev expressed concern about what he sees as corruption and hatred that the current leadership tries to spread.
“For too long the government and Israeli society have been characterized by extreme polarization, hatred, state commissions, avoiding taking real decisions on critical issues and severe corruption cases.
We need to change our direction.”