Labor to get new secretary-general today

Succeeds former MK accused of raiding coffers of the party's Berl Katznelson fund, intended for promoting Zionist education and not politics.

October 14, 2010 05:32
1 minute read.
New Labor Party secretary-general

58_Hilik Bar. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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The Labor Party’s executive committee will meet on Thursday to vote in Jerusalem city councilman Hilik Bar as the party’s new secretary-general.

Bar, who holds the Jerusalem municipality’s tourism and foreign relations portfolios, will replace former MK Weizmann Shiri, 54, who left the post two weeks ago. Unlike Shiri, who chose to be an administrative head with the title of director-general, Bar will take the political title secretary-general, which was seen as a springboard for the premiership when Labor ran the country.

Labor chairman Ehud Barak asked Bar to run for the position because he is 35 and can try to attract young voters to the struggling party.

There is no candidate running against Bar, whose political patron in the party is Industry, Trade, and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer for whom he served as an adviser.

In an interview with Israel Radio, Bar denied allegations that Barak gave the position to a loyalist of Ben-Eliezer as part of a political deal. Bar said he had the support of the entire Labor faction.

“There was no deal and no shmeal,” Bar said. “The lack of a secretary-general was felt. There needs to be someone to maintain connections between the party and its activists, get the party active on the Internet and reach out to young people. I will make sure we disappoint everyone who has eulogized the party.”

Shiri left the position after an unflattering article in Yediot Aharonot that accused Labor under his leadership of raiding the coffers of the Berl Katznelson fund, which is intended to promote Zionist education and not get involved in politics.

Thursday’s meeting will be the first time Barak addresses the executive committee following that article and several controversial decisions he has made recently. The Labor leader is expected to be pressured at the event to remove the party from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s coalition.

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