Herzog tells Labor activists not to fret over polls

"Hatred and racism are reaching new heights since our last election and will only intensify."

December 12, 2016 00:11
1 minute read.
Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni at Carmel Market.

Zionist Union's candidates for prime minister, Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni, at Carmel Market.. (photo credit: Lahav Harkov)

Pollsters have been proven wrong recently, in elections in the US and referenda in Italy and the United Kingdom, Labor chairman Isaac Herzog told delegates to his party’s convention Sunday at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds in an effort to lift their spirits.

Recent polls have shown Labor’s Zionist Union bloc lingering around 10 seats, down from its current 24. But Herzog recalled the late former party chairman Shimon Peres downplaying polls, infamously saying that like perfume, they are meant to be smelled, not drunk.

“I learned from Shimon Peres that a political journey has many twists and turns, and those who cannot handle the worst times will never get to see victory,” Herzog said. “Peres was human, but he did not lose his cool like other elected officials who were rattled by every poll that was used for internal political fights.”

Slamming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Herzog said he was “trying to become Israel’s first sultan.” He said the government was doing everything possible to spread hatred and discord and make the atmosphere more violent.

“Extremist nationalism, messianism, mudslinging, division, demagoguery, hatred and racism are reaching new heights since our last election, and it will only intensify,” Herzog warned.

The convention approved a proposal by Herzog to enable the next Labor secretary-general to be a member of Knesset. The proposal will enable Herzog’s ally, MK Eitan Cabel, and former party chairman Shelly Yacimovich’s ally, MK Michal Bitan, to run.

The Tel Aviv District Court rejected an appeal by Labor activist Amnon Zilberman to disqualify the proposal.

Zilberman is also seeking the post, as is Yacimovich’s former political adviser Yair “Yaya” Fink.

The race to succeed outgoing secretary- general MK Hilik Bar will be held next month, no later than January 19.

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