Labor Party sets July date for leadership race

Efforts will also be made to complete a merger with MK Tzipi Livni's Hatnua Party.

Herzog and Livni (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Herzog and Livni
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
As the candidates for the Labor Party chairmanship continued attacking each other, the party’s executive secretariat decided on Sunday to set a date for what could end up being a very intense election.
The race will be held on July 3, and a runoff of the top two finishers is scheduled for July 13 if, as expected, no one candidate receives at least 40% of the vote.
The deadline to join the race will be May 1, but candidates are expected to decide soon whether or not they are running because the list of eligible voters was retroactively closed on February 28.
Efforts will also be made to complete a merger with MK Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua Party and to explore the possibility of an open primary for a leader of what both parties hope will be a bloc that will run together in the next general election.
The list of candidates within Labor is expected to include incumbent Isaac Herzog, MKs Amir Peretz, Orel Margalit, Omer Bar-Lev and Eitan Cabel, as well as former minister Avi Gabbay and attorney Eldad Yaniv.
Herzog complained on Sunday that Cabel had still not apologized for calling him a powerless liar and cheater, in a conversation with former political allies that Cabel did not know was taped. He said former Labor chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich should also apologize to him for insulting his negotiations with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“Cabel is a real friend, and I thought he would apologize by now,” Herzog said.
“Shelly hasn’t apologized for calling me a dog who goes on all fours to get scraps.”
Herzog told Army Radio the reason so many candidates are seeking his job is that they believe the party can return to power.
“People believe we have a chance to replace the government if we can just stop dealing with poopoo and peepee,” he said in the live radio interview.
Yacimovich is running with Cabel’s support for head of the Histadrut labor federation. Her lawyers revealed Sunday that in return for their efforts to block her from running, incumbent Avi Nissenkorn offered two Histadrut activists well-paid jobs in the union.
Meanwhile, Army Radio political correspondent Ido Benbaji revealed that former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon criticized possible future political ally Yair Lapid at a closed-door event last week.
“I meet the heads of all the parties, but just one of them leaks the meeting to the press, Yair Lapid,” Ya’alon reportedly said.