Ben-Eliezer to run in Labor, after all

National Infrastructures minister announces he'll complete for a slot on party's Knesset list.

ben eliezer at post 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
ben eliezer at post 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
National Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer announced on Thursday evening that he would compete for a slot on Labor's Knesset list, after the party's internal court ruled that offering him a reserved spot on the list violated party rules. On Wednesday, at the party's last gathering of committee members before the Labor primary on December 2, Labor Secretary-General Eitan Cabel called for an open vote on reserving the sixth spot on the list for Ben-Eliezer as a personal appointment of party chairman Ehud Barak. The vote, held when the gathering was almost over and most of the participants had already left, went Cabel's way, but the party's young guard, headed by Ma'ayan Amudai, didn't appreciate what Amudai termed the "snatching" of the spot. Amudai filed a complaint with Labor's internal court against the decision to hold the vote openly rather than in secret. The court initially rejected Amudai's claim, but late Wednesday it accepted his appeal. While the heads of Labor were trying to figure out how to get around the court's decision, Ben-Eliezer announced that he would run in the primary just like the rest of party's candidates. "I didn't ask for the reserved spot in the first place, and in light of the witch-hunt that is developing around this issue, I don't want it," Ben-Eliezer said on Thursday. "Dwelling on the subject only damages the party and I don't want to be part of it. My love for the party is bigger and goes beyond personal considerations. Therefore, I have decided to run in the primary next Tuesday," he said. Ben-Eliezer added that he was certain Labor members would elect him to a high spot on the list due to his years of work for the country and the party. "I am sure the party will eventually present an attractive list of candidates for the Knesset and will surprise in the general elections," he said. Barak, in response to the Ben-Eliezer's decision, said, "I support Binyamin Ben-Eliezer for his brave decision to run in Labor's party primary. This is not an easy decision when there are [only] five more days left in the race. However, this is the decision of a veteran leader who has been part of this party for many years, and [who] is willing to do [this] for its sake." Barak explained that he had sought to reserve Ben-Eliezer's spot in accordance with a long tradition of reserving spots for senior and prominent party members.