Eliav recruited for Labor campaign

Party leaders hope 84-year-old's idealism will rub off on others.

Former Labor Party secretary-general Lova Eliav, 84, a retired diplomat who has served as an MK and deputy minister, has been recruited by the party to go on the campaign trail, in the hope his idealism will rub off onto others. Eliav, who at age 65 set up the Nitzana Youth Village, a desert research and educational center along the Egyptian border, has temporarily abandoned the project so dear to his heart to once again take up the party's cause. He has appeared in Labor election broadcasts and has shared the spotlight with party leader Amir Peretz, whom he has known since the latter was a very young mayor of Sderot. Eliav was a volunteer teacher in the town in the southern periphery when he met the budding politician for the first time. Then, he was impressed that a Labor mayor could operate so well in a community whose residents generally identified with Likud. He told a gathering of retirement-age Laborites in Jerusalem's Talbieh neighborhood Tuesday morning that he had been watching and working with Peretz ever since. About 50 people turned out to listen to Eliav, MK Matan Vilna'i, Labor's Jerusalem-born campaign chief, MK Colette Avital, who lives in Jerusalem, and former MK Gideon Ben Yisrael, the head of the party's seniors division and No. 26 on its Knesset list.