Zionist Union leader Issac Herzog in Gush Etzion.
(photo credit: screenshot)
The possibility that Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai may challenge opposition leader Isaac Herzog for the Labor Party leadership received mixed reactions from the party’s MKs on Sunday, a day after Huldai said he would announce in the fall whether he will run.
Speaking at a cultural event in his city on Saturday, Huldai said national politics turned him off but he was mulling a run because many people have called upon him to enter the fray.
Herzog said he had great respect for Huldai, who endorsed him in the 2013 Labor primary in which Herzog beat incumbent Shelly Yacimovich. He has not yet decided whether to advance the Labor leadership race, which must be held by May 2016 according to the party’s constitution.
“I am proud I succeeded in making Labor into a strong party others would want to lead,” Herzog told Army Radio.
If Huldai wins the vote for chairman, he will be at the helm of a party that includes the former heads of the July 2011 socioeconomic protests, which often targeted him. MK Stav Shaffir, who was critical of Huldai in the past, stayed silent on his possible candidacy on Sunday.
MK Itzik Shmuly, who made a point of blaming the national government and not Huldai during the protests, said he would welcome a run by Huldai.
“There should be as many candidates as possible,” Shmuly said. “He is a fitting candidate.
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May the best candidate win.”
Herzog’s ally Eitan Cabel blasted Huldai, saying that the “mayor of the ‘State of Tel Aviv’” cannot head Labor, because it would hurt the party’s critical efforts to attract support in the periphery. Speaking to the radio station Kol Barama, Cabel said he did not think Huldai would run and that if he did, he would lose.
“The main criticism of the Zionist Union is that we were a party of the State of Tel Aviv, so now we will bring the head of the State of Tel Aviv to lead us?” Cabel asked. “He is a man with many accomplishments, but he cannot lead us.”
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