Labor MKs discuss fight against Peretz

Five MKs deny split, express concern that party is losing public's faith.

peretz campaigning 298.8 (photo credit: Associated Press)
peretz campaigning 298.8
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Labor Party rebels convened on Thursday in Tel Aviv to discuss their continuing struggle against Labor Party Chairman Amir Peretz. The Labor MKs Ami Ayalon, Avishay Braverman, Danny Yatom, Colette Avital and Matan Vilna'i debated, among other issues, the preparations for the upcoming Labor Party Central Committee meeting. Several topics set to be discussed at the meeting include Peretz's dismissal of Labor Party Attorney Eldad Yaniv, elections to party institutions, calls to replace the Labor Faction Chairman Eitan Cabel and the party leadership elections. The five expressed their concern at what they felt was a loss of public faith in their party. Braverman told Channel 10 that it was important to him that his party be a reliable one. The MKs were concerned that Peretz would gain control of the party's institutions and annul the existing rule which states that following a general election defeat the party leadership must be voted upon. Yatom denied that he and his colleagues were planning to split the Labor Party and join Kadima. Ayalon stated the he did not want Labor to be compared to the Likud. Referring to the tensions in Likud before former prime minister Ariel Sharon left the party along with several other MKs and founded Kadima, Ayalon said "Labor is not Likud, I am not [Likud Chairman Binyamin Netanyahu], and Peretz is definitely not Ariel Sharon." A Labor Party spokesman called the rebel's behavior "shameful" and said the time had come to "remove the gloves." Vilna'i was one of Peretz' most vocal opponents. Shortly after the elections, he spoke out against the party chairman, blaming him for what Vilna'i called Labor's downfall in the elections, and said Peretz suffered from delusions of grandeur. Tensions were particularly high during the time when the party convened to chose its ministerial nominations for the current government.