JNF KKL logo 58.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Labor Party chairman Ehud Barak faces a test of his leadership on Sunday when
his party’s executive committee will convene at Beit Berl Teachers College in
Kfar Saba to decide the fate of the chairmanship of the Jewish National
Fund/Keren Kayemet L’Israel.
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The Petah Tikva District Court forced Barak
to convene the meeting when it ruled last Thursday that he did not have the
right to decide in a smaller forum that Labor would give up on the post in order
to allow his ally, Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon, to run as the candidate
of the Reform Movement.
Incumbent JNF/KKL chairman Effi Stenzler said
that in the meeting he would demand the cancellation of the decision to give up
the JNF/KKL chairmanship and that a date be set to elect Labor’s candidate for
the post. He submitted the signatures required to hold a secret ballot vote in
“This is a struggle for the soul and character of the Labor
Party,” Stenzler said. “All I want is a democratic election, unlike Barak, who
wants a political patronage position for Simhon. I hope Barak honors the wishes
of the court.”
But Labor officials close to Barak disputed Stenzler’s
interpretation of the court case. They said the court required a discussion of
the matter in the committee, not necessarily a vote.
The press will be
barred from the meeting.
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein has helped
Simhon by ruling that his current job would not create a conflict of interest
that could prevent him from heading JNF/KKL. He also decided this week not to
indict Simhon for allocating funds from his ministry to chickencoop
State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss had written that the
allocation was improper, because Simhon’s family owns chicken coops.