Barak must hold vote for JNF head

Internal Labor court rules chair can't appoint his ally Simhon.

The Labor Party's Executive Committee will hold what is expected to be a stormy meeting at the Land Of Israel Museum in Tel Aviv Sunday night after an internal party court ruled that Labor chairman Ehud Barak cannot appoint his ally, Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon, as world chairman of KKL-JNF.
Barak had undertaken a series of procedures to ensure that Simhon could be given the post. But a court headed by judge Amnon Zichroni ruled Saturday night that Barak would have to follow proper procedure.
In the past, Labor's candidates for the leadership of Zionist institutions were elected by the executive committee and leaders of the party's international branches. But Barak recently changed the party's bylaws to allow the appointment to be made by a seven member panel headed by himself along with an appointments committee stacked with people close to Simhon.
Responding to an appeal by Kiryat Ono Labor branch secretary Roy Ben-David and Deputy Kiryat Ono mayor mayor Israel Gal, Zichroni ruled that a new appointments committee would have to be appointed in a fair and legal manner.
While Ben-David said the court had also ruled that a secret-ballot vote would have to be held on the vote, a Labor spokesman denied this and said the court also ruled that Barak's list of candidates for the appointments committee would be voted on as one block and not name by name as Ben-David and Gal wanted.
Simhon's seeking the KKL-JNF chairmanship is seen by his political opponents as an admission that he fears he would not get re-elected to the Knesset next time when he would not be able to run on a slot reserved for a candidate from the party's moshavim sector as he has in the past.
Labor officials said it was premature to deal with the KKL-JNF chairmanship when it is still unclear whether Labor will even be given the post in coaltion talks in the World Zionist Congress that will not begin before next month.