peretz speaks 298.88.
(photo credit: Roni Schutzer)
Defense Minister Amir Peretz has been quietly planning his comeback in the Labor primary race by building up support in the Arab sector, said officials close to Peretz.
While Peretz has been lagging far behind front-runners Ehud Barak and MK Ami Ayalon in the Labor leadership race, officials close to him said he has been refocusing his campaign on the Arab sector, a population he has successfully wooed in the past.
The Arab sector and Kibbutz sector comprise the two biggest voting blocks in the party. Peretz has never been popular in the Kibbutz movement, acknowledged his spokesman, so he has come to rely on the Arab sector to build his campaign.
Peretz enjoyed the support of Arab voters in the past elections, said one official involved in his campaign, and has decided to use a "whistle-stop campaign tour" of Arab villages to garner support once again. The method involves personally visiting towns and populations to meet with voters and earn support on the street.
Peretz began this campaign last weekend, when he visited villages in the North with MK Nadia Hilou (Labor), a Palestinian Christian MK who has lobbied for the Arab sector.
"He has enjoyed a lot of support, but not everyone supports him," said Hilou. "His promotion of Ghaleb [Majadle] to be the first Arab minister has earned him a huge boost in support. Everyone he meets keeps mentioning it. They have really thanked him and they have given him a lot of credit for that appointment."
Majadle has also been heavily involved in campaigning for Peretz ever since his appointment as a minister became finalized.
The most complaints, said Hilou, were over his decision to become defense minister rather than champion the socioeconomic agenda he campaigned on.