(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
A new campaign began this week to draft former IDI chief Gabi Ashkenazi to run in the next Labor leadership race, which is expected to take place in August.
Ashkenazi was cleared of criminal charges last month in the Harpaz affair. Both Labor chairman Isaac Herzog and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid have called upon him to join their parties.
The new Facebook campaign called, “Run, Gabi Run” (in Hebrew) is seeking funding for advertisements in newspapers that will call on him to enter politics.
“We are an initiative of independent activists who see Gabi Ashkenazi as the most fitting candidate to lead Israel in the face of challenges ahead,” the Facebook page says. “Our goal is to show Ashkenazi that he has great support and rare admiration from the Israeli public. We hope to begin public discourse about the need for someone of his caliber in the current reality.”
Herzog met Sunday with another former IDF chief of staff, former prime minister Ehud Barak, at Barak’s Tel Aviv penthouse.
Herzog apparently presented Barak with his plan for separating from the Palestinians but did not ask the unpopular former politician to return to the party.
In contrast, Herzog did draft back into Labor the head of the Histadrut Labor Federation, Avi Nissenkorn. Herzog met Tuesday with Nissenkorn and formally registered him with the party.
“I am happy and proud to join the Labor party,” Nissenkorn said. “The socioeconomic reality in Israel requires using all forces available politically to fight against the widening poverty and social gaps in Israeli society.”
Herzog said he welcomes Nissenkorn as a socioeconomic leader who is able to make historic changes in the lives of the weakest sectors of the population.
“Avi joined us because we are the home of socioeconomic fighters,” Herzog said. “We are the home of anyone who believes that fixing the economy must be a national mission.”
Herzog’s rival, MK Shelly Yacimovich also welcomed Nissenkorn to the party, but used the opportunity to take a dig at Herzog.
“His [Nissenkorn’s] decision to enter the party now when it is especially weak shows the courage and the ideological identification he has with the party,” she said.