Work dispute highlights rift in Zionist Union party

Senior faction officials clash over how to decrease staff following party's loss in March 17 election.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
April 12, 2015 21:45
1 minute read.
Tel Aviv

Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni, co-leaders of Zionist Union, gesture as they deliver a statement at the party headquarters in Tel Aviv March 18. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Tension flared up in the Zionist Union Sunday when the party's secretary-general Hilik Bar and director-general Shimon Batat clashed over how to decrease staff following the party's loss in the March 17 election.

Batat met ahead of the Passover holiday with two party officials and told them that there would be no need for their positions following the election and due to the party's debts, they would not be kept on staff.

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Bar heard about Batat's decision from the press and stepped in to try to help the workers keep their jobs,

"No party worker will be fired without my authorization and without a hearing, especially not on the eve of a holiday," Bar said. 

One of the workers acted as a spokeswoman to the Russian-language media and briefly coordinated statements to the foreign press ahead of the election. The other is a former aide to MK Eitan Cabel who held the title of Labor spokesman. The former Cabel aide did not intend to stay on Labor's staff following the election.

Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog's spokesman Ofer Newman, who speaks perfect English, will continue as he did during the campaign to speak for the party and its leader to both the local and foreign media.

A Zionist Union MK criticized Herzog in closed conversations for not intervening to prevent the dismissals.



There was tension between Batat and other Zionist Union officials throughout the campaign. Batat sparred with Cabel, leading to overlapping functions in the campaign being given to multiple people.

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