The Left has no leader, Oron proclaims

"Barak is not the leader of the Left," Oron said. "There is no leader of the Left."

haim oron 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
haim oron 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
MK Haim Oron, the leading candidate in next Tuesday's Meretz leadership race, lashed out at Labor chairman Ehud Barak Monday, saying that the Israeli Left has no leader. Oron met with Barak on Monday for the first time in seven months. He told the Labor leader that he agreed with author Amos Oz's statements attacking Barak at a rally Sunday hosted by Oron. At the event, Oz expressed confidence that the Left could win the next election, but he blasted Barak, who, he said, did not consider peace a priority and was unfamiliar with poverty. Asked whether Oz contradicted himself by saying the Left could win while he criticized the presumed leader of the Left, Oron told The Jerusalem Post that he did not consider the Labor chairman the Left's leader. "Barak is not the leader of the Left," Oron said. "There is no leader of the Left." Oron said Oz's criticism did not hurt Barak, who, he said, was aiming for votes from Kadima - not from Meretz. He said he would take many votes away from Labor if he were elected in his race against MKs Zehava Gal-On and Ran Cohen. The three candidates debated Monday night at an event hosted by Meretz's Jerusalem branch at the Kol Haneshama Reform synagogue in the capital's Baka neighborhood. Oron said he would try to win support from voters who had supported Labor and Kadima in past elections because they mistakenly thought that the leaders of those parties would bring peace. Gal-On and Oron said they would target young people who voted for the Pensioners Party as part of a fad in the last election. Gal-On suggested that one way to attract them would be to place an equal number of men and women on the Meretz list. Cohen said the party should instead target the votes of the weakest sectors of the population, which he said would otherwise be lost to the Likud and billionaire Arkadi Gaydamak's Social Justice Party. He warned that if the weakest sectors voted for those parties, the hard-earned money they paid in taxes would be wasted on settlements.