Labor Party Chair Avi Gabbay.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
In a blow to Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay, a party convention that was set for Sunday night was canceled after the Central District Court in Lod issued an injunction preventing the meeting from taking place, at the request of party activists opposed to Gabbay.
Gabbay had intended to pass a proposal at the convention to cancel an election for members of Labor’s central committee and instead approve all 5,300 candidates as committee members. The activists, led by the head of Labor’s faction in the Histadrut, Pini Kabalo, persuaded Judge Rachel Barkai that the vote would have been illegal because other party institutions had already ruled against Gabbay and because the agenda for the meeting had not been published far enough in advance.
The court will reconvene Monday morning to decide how to proceed in the dispute over Gabbay’s plan.
Gabbay responded to the decision by accusing the activists of misleading the court and by saying he would continue to widen the party’s ranks.
The decision was a victory for Gabbay’s most vocal opponents in the party, MKs Amir Peretz and Eitan Cabel, who vigorously oppose canceling the election. Cabel accused Gabbay of trying to bypass democracy. He said Gabbay’s behavior had made him miss Labor leader Ehud Barak, of whom Cabel has been an especially sharp critic for many years.
Another dispute is expected in the Zionist Union faction meeting Monday over who will replace new Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog as head of the opposition. The Zionist Union is a joint faction of the Labor and Hatnua parties.
Sources close to Hatnua head Tzipi Livni have threatened to break up the union if she was not given the post. But Labor MKs have said it must remain in their party. MKs Shelly Yacimovich, Peretz and Omer Bar Lev are expected to be candidates for the position.
“Labor is the largest party in the opposition, with three times as many MKs as Hatnua, so it should head the opposition,” said Labor MK Itzik Shmuli, who is considering running for the position himself.
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