Labor treasurer resigns to protest Cabel dismissal

Fired secretary-general: Barak has lied to the people of Israel time after time.

cabel barak buddies 248 88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
cabel barak buddies 248 88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Less than one day after Labor chairman Ehud Barak fired party secretary-general Eitan Cabel in a bid to unify party ranks, Labor appeared contentious as ever Thursday, with treasurer Moshe Amit announcing his resignation in protest. Labor's Young Guard also took Cabel's side, announcing Thursday evening that it would hold an emergency meeting to draw up a plan opposing Barak's intention to remove Cabel from his position. "We support the secretary-general, and we will fight alongside him in order to save the party from the political dictator Ehud Barak," said Young Guard chairman Ma'ayan Amoda'i. Also on Thursday, Barak appointed former MK and close ally Weizman Shiri as temporary secretary-general. Shiri's appointment passed Labor's steering committee by a landslide vote of five to one. Shortly after that vote, Amit said he was resigning because he would "not serve as a member of a divided house." Amit added that the party was also on the brink of financial collapse. Another Barak associate, attorney Hayim Cohen, responded by asking the treasurer, "I wonder how we reached this situation?" to which Amit retorted, "You should know very well how we reached this situation." Cabel, meanwhile, announced that in the next party committee meeting, he would advance a proposal to investigate how Labor had amassed more than NIS 80 million in debt. Cabel, who offered a terse response to news of his removal late Wednesday night, was more candid Thursday, blasting Barak as having "lied to the people of Israel time after time. He lied after the Winograd Committee [following the Second Lebanon War], he lied when he said Labor would go to the opposition [after the recent general election] and he lied in the coalition talks." Barak, he said, "is not a man of his word. What happened yesterday doesn't count, what is important is what happens now." In an interview on Army Radio, Cabel added, "I wasn't the one who brought the party to a state of 13 mandates." Labor MK Shelly Yacimovich, who was staunchly opposed to joining Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government, said Barak's decision was a "serious mistake that will weaken the [Labor] party." During a meeting on Wednesday night, Barak told Cabel that he would remove him from his position after the latter refused to bow to the steering committee's decision to enter the government. Cabel and fellow MKs Yacimovich, Amir Peretz and Ophir Paz-Pines were among the most vocal opponents of Barak's decision to join the otherwise right-leaning coalition. Cabel had accused Barak of "burying" the Labor Party, and was absent when the Knesset voted to approve the new government. Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.