The Labor Party's former secretary-general, MK Eitan Cabel, marked the 80th birthday of Labor's forerunner Mapai (an acronym for Worker's Party of the Land of Israel) on Tuesday by eulogizing Labor in a gloomy speech at the Knesset.
Mapai was founded in Tel Aviv on January 5, 1930, with the merger of Hapoel Hatzair that was founded by A.D. Gordon and David Ben-Gurion's original Ahdut Ha'avoda party. After winning Israel's first five elections, Mapai formed the Labor Alignment with a later Ahdut Ha'avoda for the 1965 election and officially ceased to exist when it merged with Ahdut Ha'avoda and Rafi to form Labor on January 23, 1968.
Cabel said Mapai's founders would turn in their graves if they saw the current state of Labor after its current head Ehud Barak joined forces in a government with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's Likud and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's Israel Beiteinu.
"Celebrating Labor's birthday is like gathering around the death bed of a sick man who is only alive due to respirators and life-support systems and holding a party for him as if he had a future," Cabel told the Knesset plenum.
"Labor, which was once a socialist party that represented workers, has become a slave of hedonism. It has lost its beauty and now can only beg for crumbs of power. Its former heroism has been buried."
Senior Labor officials responded by blaming Cabel and his colleagues among the Labor rebel MKs for the party's travails.
"Eitan Cabel is part of Labor's problems and not its solutions," a senior party official said. "As our former secretary-general, Cabel is responsible for the party's debts and its organizational failures.
"After receiving reserved slots on Labor's [Knesset candidates] list in the last two elections, he is invited to return his mandate to the party, quit and retire so we will no longer have to listen to him."