Zionist Union head Isaac Herzog speaks to the press.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog faced fierce criticism at his Zionist Union faction meeting on Monday from Zionist Union MK Yossi Yonah over internal Labor politics.
The faction meeting was supposed to be about the struggle for tax benefits for confrontation- line communities on the border between Israel and Lebanon.
Several of the mayors attended the meeting and thanked Zionist Union MKs for fighting on their behalf.
But Yonah asked Herzog to address a report that he intends to propose adding 450 people to the Labor central committee at Sunday’s Labor convention. Adding hundreds of supporters to party institutions in order to stack the deck in their favor is a tactic that Labor leaders have used in past attempts to solidify power.
Yonah wrote a letter complaining that Herzog’s move was undemocratic. He told Herzog at the meeting that the Labor leader had displayed “chutzpah” by trying to add the central committee members.
“You are bringing a culture of substandard politics to the party, and this is what we should be uprooting,” Yonah told Herzog.
Herzog responded by attacking Yonah and saying that the freshman MK was the real problem in the party.
“You are the one who has displayed chutzpah,” Herzog told Yonah. “I will not let you destroy the party.”
MKs present at the meeting afterward said they do not remember the generally mild-mannered Herzog ever yelling so loudly.
MK Tzipi Livni, who heads the Hatnua branch of the Zionist Union that ran together with Labor in the March 17 election, left the room following the dispute.
“I can leave Labor to kill itself,” she said. “Labor can destroy itself if it wants, but I don’t have to take part in it.”