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The Labor Party's leadership primary may have to be delayed for a second time unless a decision by the party's internal court is reversed immediately, Labor secretary-general Eitan Cabel said on Wednesday.
Labor leadership candidate Binyamin Ben Eliezer persuaded the court on Wednesday morning to permit thousands of Labor members whose membership forms were disqualified to appeal their disqualification. The court decided to allow the disqualified members to appeal until Oct. 28, two weeks before the Nov. 9 election.
Cabel appealed the decision before the holiday began on Wednesday, writing in his appeal that two weeks would not be enough time to prepare for the election. Cabel's case is expected to be heard by the court on Saturday night.
â€œThis decision was shameful, and will cause the party serious damage if it is not overturned,â€ Cabel said.
Ben Eliezer's attorney, Haim Cohen, declared victory and said he would persist in legal proceedings until all of Labor's members were allowed to vote in the election. Ben-Eliezer's campaign said that Cabel would be at fault if the election is delayed because he should have allowed the appeals in the first place.
Science minister Matan Vilna'i, who is also a candidate for Labor leadership, called the court's decision â€œmasochistic.â€ He called upon Ben Eliezer to â€œjust for one minute think about the good of the party and not just the good of himself.â€
Vilna'i also criticized incumbent Labor chairman Shimon Peres to â€œstop pretending that what is going on isn't his responsibility and start doing something.â€
Former Labor leadership candidate Ehud Barak, who caused the election to be delayed the first time when he complained about improprieties in Labor's membership drive, said that the candidates should stop dealing with the nuances of the drive and instead unite behind Peres.
But perhaps the politician most critical of the court's decision was Shinui chairman Yosef Lapid, who said, â€œThe fact that the Labor race could be delayed again proves that Labor is a party that has lost its way, cannot find a leader and has no one left to lead.â€
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