Labor rivalry escalates between Yacimovich, Peretz

Labor leader announces "zero tolerance" for Peretz's behavior, says chances party will join Netanyahu-led coalition slim.

Labor party chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Labor party chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Tensions between Labor chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich and rival MK Amir Peretz rose as the former spoke out against those trying to “sabotage” Labor’s chances in the election.
Yacimovich implied that Peretz is trying to undermine her on Tuesday morning, saying that “the entire party disagrees with those trying to sabotage our attempt to replace [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu’s government.”
“Behavior that hurts the party will be met with zero tolerance,” Yacimovich told Army Radio.
Peretz snubbed Yacimovich and Labor on Monday night, not attending her presentation of the party’s economic platform. Most members of the Labor list for the 19th Knesset sat on the stage in Ashdod, behind the party leader.
On Friday, as the results of Labor’s primary were announced, Peretz said that if Yacimovich refuses to announce before the election that she will not join a Netanyahu-led government, he would consider splitting Labor.
“Social justice is the most important issue, and it’s the issue that I put on the map,” Peretz told Channel 2’s Meet the Press Saturday night, “but we cannot concede Labor’s place at the head of the peace camp.”
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Yacimovich refused on Tuesday to rule out joining Netanyahu’s government after the January 22 election, but said chances she will be part of the coalition are slim.
“We cannot reject a scenario in which the Labor Party will be very big, and Netanyahu will become a peace-loving social democrat,” she said. “Of course, this is an imaginary scenario, but no party is making a sweeping, total commitment [not to join a Netanyahu-led government] other than Meretz, and I respect them for it.”
Later Monday, Yacimovich appointed candidates on the Labor list to jobs on the party’s campaign.
MK Avishai Braverman, a professor of economics and former president of Ben-Gurion University, will head Labor’s socioeconomic staff, while former National Union of Israeli Students chairman and social protest leader Itzik Shmuly will deal with reservists’ and students’ issues. Former Sayeret Matkal (General Staff Reconnaissance Unit) commander Omer Bar-Lev will lead Labor’s Election Day staff.