Eini, Peretz, Cabel to face off in Histadrut court

Charges of forgery and bullying mar labor federation leadership race.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
March 7, 2012 01:59
1 minute read.
Histadrut chair Ofer Eini at Labor Court

Histadrut chair Ofer Eini at Labor Court_311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

 
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Weeks of mutual recriminations in the Histadrut Labor Federation leadership race are expected to hit their peak on Wednesday when the candidates come to a hearing before an internal Histadrut court in Tel Aviv.

Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini has accused his challengers, Labor MKs Amir Peretz and Eitan Cabel, of forging the signatures of hundreds of Histadrut members on forms enabling them to run. The Histadrut elections committee warned last week that if Peretz and Cabel did not prove otherwise at Wednesday’s hearing, the committee would file criminal charges against them.

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Peretz and Cabel have countered with proof that Histadrut officials bullied labor union members to rescind their signatures from the forms and hired a firm that did sloppy work in calling the workers and checking whether they signed. The two MKs have threatened to sue the elections committee for libeling them.

Lawyers for Peretz are demanding that the head of the elections committee, attorney Tal Keret, be fired and the committee be dissolved due to what they called undemocratic management, improper work methods and a lack of objectivity.

Peretz’s lawyers complained that there are no representatives loyal to either MK on the elections committee, which they said was controlled by Eini. They said the committee was not permitted to hire a firm to verify the signatures.

Eini was not required to submit signatures while his challengers were required to submit 5000 even though running for Knesset only requires 100. Peretz submitted 9000 and less than 1000 signatures were called into question.

“Ofer Eini is acting like dictator and a bully,” Peretz’s spokeswoman said.

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“He is afraid of facing off against any candidate because he knows the workers are sick of him.”

Peretz’s associates said they expected the court to permit both Peretz and Cabel to run. Next week, the Tel Aviv District Court will decide whether Cabel’s candidacy is permitted even though he did not pay Histadrut membership dues for enough time.

If Cabel is permitted to run by the external court, Peretz has said he would drop out of the race and unite behind him in an effort to defeat Eini, his political nemesis.

A spokesman for Eini denied Peretz and Cabel’s charges against him. Election committee spokesman Maayan Naveh said the hearing would be fair and all the charges would be properly investigated.

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