Labor activist runs phone campaign to oust Peretz from defense post

A Haifa Labor Party activist has launched a telephone campaign calling for Defense Minister Amir Peretz to resign and for Labor members to take an active part in selecting the next defense minister by voting for the next Labor chairman. Haifa City Councilman Shlomo Gilboa, who is also the chairman of Keshet Israel, started the campaign earlier this week in an attempt to pressure Peretz to step down from the Defense Ministry. In the new movement, called "Dai (Hebrew for enough) Direct and Honest Democracy", that he founded, he uses cutting-edge technology and lots of faith to try to change the Labor's Party internal map, and hopefully, enter the Knesset. Much of his success is due to the Robophone software he developed years ago, which many political parties employ to recruit new supporters. "We are swamped with phone calls from supporters who want to join the efforts. [Chief of Staff] Halutz's resigning couldn't have come at a better time for us, and we are calling for Peretz to learn from him and to take responsibility and resign the position in which he has failed," said Gilboa. Gilboa is financing the effort to call one million households by the end of the month. He wants to reach as many people as possible before the list of candidates for the Labor Party's primaries officially closes. A recorded message from the movement sent to cellular phones said that current and potential Labor Party members have signed an on-line petition against Peretz, and that it is in the hands of voters to change the future of the party. Around 20,000 people had signed the petition by Wednesday and 2,500 new members joined the Labor Party under Gilboa's campaign. Gilboa stressed that his campaign was not designed to disqualify Peretz personally, "but emerged from the deep disappointment of Peretz's betrayal of the social agenda, upon which he was elected as head of Labor." The defense minister declined to comment yesterday but officials close to Peretz said on Wednesday that they were checking whether Gilboa's campaign complied with the law.