MK Erel Margalit.
(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
The Zionist Union faction erupted into mutual recriminations Monday when likely Labor leadership candidate Erel Margalit called current chairman Isaac Herzog a dictator.
Margalit expressed outrage over Herzog’s decision to postpone the next Labor leadership primary from May to an unknown date in the future.
The new date will be set at a Labor Party convention in the first half of May.
“Labor and the Zionist Union are disappearing [in the polls] because there is no mandate for leadership that does not go to elections,” Margalit said. “If we don’t go to elections, we will become like Yair Lapid or Avigdor Liberman’s parties. Delaying the primary for two years locks the party in the freezer and lets Netanyahu keep the keys.”
Herzog smiled silently as Margalit told the faction his leadership was destroying the party. MKs Eitan Cabel, Merav Michaeli and Tzipi Livni all stepped to the leader’s defense and attacked Margalit.
“Stop trying to pull a fast one on us,” Cabel said. “There is a party convention [for such things]. What you are doing is shameful.”
Livni, meanwhile, accused Margalit of damaging the bond between Labor and her Hatnua party, which formed the Zionist Union together.
When Livni said: “What ruins the Zionist Union is that every other day someone from Labor comes with their personal issues, shticks and tricks,” Margalit responded that because she was not from Labor, she was merely “a guest” at the meeting.
Herzog formally responded to Margalit’s attack by calling it “an unnecessary argument that distracts us from achieving our main goal of replacing Netanyahu and his bad government.”
Responding to a similar attack from Margalit on Saturday, the Zionist Union head said support for the party is growing in the polls and would continue to grow due to his diplomatic plan.
In an Army Radio interview after the faction meeting, Margalit called upon Herzog to “stop playing hide and seek and hiding behind Tzipi Livni, Eitan Cabel and Merav Michaeli and either lead or call for a primary.”
Margalit has not formally announced his candidacy, but said Saturday that he was considering it. He also called upon Gabi Ashkenazi to join Labor, in which case he might end up supporting the former IDF chief of staff against Herzog.