Labor chairman Ehud Barak lashed out at his critics in the party at a pre-Rosh Hashana toast at Labor's new headquarters in Kfar Saba on Wednesday, saying that the party's fall to only 13 Knesset seats was caused by it moving too far to the Left.
Barak personally called upon Labor rebel MKs Ophir Paz-Pines, Eitan Cabel, Amir Peretz and Yuli Tamir to resume cooperation with the party, which they have been boycotting to protest the decision by the party's institutions to join Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's coalition.
But while sending the rebels an olive branch he also rejected their claims that the party had abandoned its principles by joining a Netanyahu-led government. He said that the prime minister's current efforts to revive the diplomatic process were proof that joining the government was a correct decision.
"When Labor ran the country, it acted in a statesman-like manner," Barak said. "When it started advocating a utopian [peace] and what had to be done to bring it about, the party shifted leftward and lost power. We need to be a centrist party that supports workers, taxpayers and pensioners."