Labor to probe mass registration drive

The five Labor leadership candidates had waited with great anticipation while membership rolls were set to be published.

Herzog 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Herzog 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Labor Party will delay publishing its list of new members so it can investigate all groups of four or more people who were registered by the same person, the head of the party’s investigative team, retired judge Sara Frisch, said on Monday.
The five Labor leadership candidates had waited with great anticipation for Wednesday, when the membership rolls were set to be published, enabling the candidates and media outlets to take the first polls of eligible voters in the September 12 primary.
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But Frisch and election committee chairman Ra’anan Cohen said the publication would have to be delayed by “a number of days” in order to guarantee that the membership drive was clean.
Frisch said the party had hired a company to determine which membership forms were legitimate and which were illegally paid for by people who are not relatives of the members.
“We don’t intend to publish the membership list until we have the most proper list possible, even if it means delaying the publication,” Cohen said at the start of a meeting with the five candidates at the Knesset.
All five candidates agreed to support Frisch’s efforts.
MK Isaac Herzog said he had no problem with delaying the publication of the membership list as long as the election itself was not postponed.
“Every time we manage to stand on our feet, we are hit from inside and out,” Herzog complained. “It’s time for all the candidates to get off the roof and work to ensure there will be a fair and clean race.”
Venture capitalist Erel Margalit blasted his rivals for attacking other candidates. He accused them of “playing Russian roulette with their mudslinging.”
Former Labor chairman Amram Mitzna, who has been the most critical among the candidates, defended himself, saying that other candidates started the fight by calling him “a leech” and “Ehud Barak with a beard.”
“There is nothing wrong with criticizing your rivals in a race,” Mitzna said. “It’s an election, not a beauty contest. The fact that we are criticizing each other now doesn’t mean we can’t work together later on.”