Labor shows confidence despite infighting

Amidst reports of infighting between party leader Shelly Yacimovich and Amir Peretz, party shows strong front at Knesset opening.

Shelly Yacimovich at Labor HQ 311 (photo credit: Gil Hoffman)
Shelly Yacimovich at Labor HQ 311
(photo credit: Gil Hoffman)
The Labor Party showed a strong front at its first faction meeting of the winter Knesset session on Monday, despite reports of conflict between newly elected party leader Shelly Yacimovich and primary rival MK Amir Peretz.
“I’m excited to be here,” Yacimovich said. “I arrived at the Knesset this morning with a great feeling. We’re opening a fresh, new page.”
Yacimovich commended her fellow Labor MKs’ “productivity and commitment,” saying that the faction is “made up of great material that will work for the good of the state and the party.”
Peretz has spoken out against Yacimovich’s refusal to choose a Labor Party candidate to go up against Ofer Eini in the upcoming Histadrut elections, but he avoided the issue at the faction meeting.
“We’re a democratic party that makes agreements. When there are arguments, we make decisions,” Peretz said. “We will prove that those who said we’re in a crisis and falling apart were wrong.”
Labor’s faction chairman, Eitan Cabel, called for the party to take action and instate stricter rules for the party’s MKs, who will be required to attend a weekly strategic meeting.
“The media likes to report that we’re bickering,” he pointed out, “but who says that bickering is a bad thing?” Cabel also said the party should report any absences from committee meetings with an acceptable excuse.
“We need to remove the rust from our parliamentary work, so we can be the driving force in the opposition.”
He said the first step was the no-confidence vote Labor presented at Monday evening’s plenum meeting.
Yacimovich said Cabel’s new rules are “genius,” while Peretz commended him on the new “air of action and discipline.”
Addressing the start of the winter parliamentary session, Yacimovich said that Knesset’s recent shift from diplomatic to social matters “is Labor’s real, authentic ideology. The public demands accountability from its leaders on topics like education, employment and housing, and there is no party better than us to answer the public.”
Labor is the Knesset’s only social-democratic party, making it the best-equipped opposition to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s neo-liberal ideology, according to Yacimovich. She said the party must sharpen the distinction between Labor and Likud’s economic outlook.
“Social justice is our worldview,” the party leader said.
“Social justice is Labor.”