Labor gets post-primary boost in poll

Gabbay undecided on adding star, vows to help nemesis.

Labor leader Avi Gabbay and his new number two Itzik Shmuly have coffee Tuesday at Labor's Tel Aviv headquarters (photo credit: ITZIK ALROV)
Labor leader Avi Gabbay and his new number two Itzik Shmuly have coffee Tuesday at Labor's Tel Aviv headquarters
(photo credit: ITZIK ALROV)
The Labor Party enjoyed a post-primary boost, from five seats to eight, according to a survey taken for Channel 13 by pollster Camil Fuchs that was broadcast on Tuesday night.
The three seats came from former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz’s Israel Resilience Party, according to the poll of 600 Israelis representing a statistic sample of the adult population. The poll found that Labor does not have an interest in running together with Meretz, which will have its primary on Thursday.
Labor leader Avi Gabbay began efforts Tuesday to evaluate whether to add a well-known security figure to his party’s list ahead of the February 21 deadline to submit candidates to the Central Elections Committee.
In radio interviews, Gabbay said he was happy with the team of candidates selected in Monday’s Labor primary. But he said he would not rule out adding candidates or running with another party to make up for whatever the list might be lacking. One possibility is thought to be retired IDF Maj.-Gen. (res.) Noam Tibon.
“I will do everything possible to enlarge our camp and bring about a political upheaval in Israel,” Gabbay told Army Radio. “We will evaluate what contributes to that goal.”
Gabbay claimed that “there are many people who want reserved slots on our list.” But he said the quality of the candidates Labor members chose “decreased the need to use the slots.”
Labor’s convention last month gave Gabbay the right to reserve the second and 10th slots on the list for candidates of his choosing. If he does not use them, the candidates chosen Monday would move up on the list, including Gabbay’s nemesis, MK Eitan Cabel, who is currently in the far from realistic 15th slot on the list.
Gabbay told Army Radio that he did not work to prevent Cabel from entering the Knesset. He said he still hoped Cabel would get in.
“Our job is not to bring seven seats like polls predicted but much, much more, so Cabel will also be an MK, and I think it will happen,” Gabbay said.
But Cabel told KAN radio that Gabbay tried to end his career in the primary. He called upon Gabbay not to use the reserved slots, not to help him but to help the candidates in front of him.
“I got slapped in the face, even though I worked hard in the Knesset,” Cabel said.
MK Itzik Shmuly, who won the most votes in the primary, said Gabbay should use the reserved slots only for candidates who share Labor’s ideology and would add mandates to the party.
But MK Stav Shaffir, who finished second in the primary, said Labor needs to add a security figure, because it is a ruling party.
Names raised include former prime minister Ehud Barak and former Shin Bet (Israel security agency) chief Yuval Diskin.
Gabbay was heckled at Tuesday’s Jerusalem Conference for saying “the Gaza disengagement was the right step.
“Get used to it,” he responded to the hecklers. “There are also different views.”