Meretz denies mass departure of members to Labor

More than 100 Meretz convention members reportedly were decamping to the rival Labor Party.

beilin 88 (photo credit: )
beilin 88
(photo credit: )
Despite reports that more than 100 Meretz convention members were decamping to the rival Labor Party, only ten members had sent letters of resignation by Wednesday night said Meretz Party officials. "Right now it is all rumors," said a Meretz Party spokesman. "The people that are leaving have said that they are leaving for a long time - now they just want to go out with a bang." The Meretz convention, which serves as the party's central committee, is compromised of 1000 registered Meretz members. Among those rumored to leave were Smadar Aharoni, a member of the Nes Tziona Council and Itai Pinkas, a Tel Aviv city council member. "For every ten that leave Meretz there are one hundred that join from Labor," said the Meretz spokesman. Also on Wednesday, visiting American business leaders were pleasantly surprised when Labor Party Chairman Amir Peretz addressed their delegation in nearly-flowing English. Although an ocean usually separates us, we share something beyond geography that binds us together: a shared sense of Jewish moral values," said Peretz. "These values - a constant search for peace and security, social justice and equality - inform how I hope to shape Israel's future." Peretz then outlined the main tenets of the Labor Party Platform, which included a strong stance against negotiations with Hamas under its current conditions, and a reaffirmation of the Labor socio-economic agenda. Peretz's English has been an common topic during the campaign, following a speech he made at the Yithak Rabin memorial in broken, faltering English. Although, several months later, his English drastically improved, the issue raised questions of whether Peretz could relate to an Anglo audience. "He spoke well and appears to have a very talented group of people at his helm," said Malcolmn Hoenlein, the head of the delegation. "We are not here to vote or hand out money… it is important for American Jewish leadership to understand the elected officials in this country." Following Peretz, Labor candidates Avishay Braverman, Colette Avital, and Isaac Herzog addressed the group.