Histadrut court delays decision on Peretz, Cabel

Labor MKs must wait to find out if they can challenge Ofer Eini for chairing the Histadrut.

311_ amir peretz (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski/The Jerusalem Post))
311_ amir peretz
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski/The Jerusalem Post))
Labor MKs Amir Peretz and Eitan Cabel will have to wait until next week to find out whether they will be permitted to challenge Ofer Eini for the chairmanship of the Histadrut Labor Federation.
In a session in Tel Aviv described by Peretz as stormy, an internal Histadrut court of three judges canceled Wednesday’s hearing – which was expected to decide whether Cabel and Peretz could run – because the Histadrut’s elections committee did not have the authority to summon the MKs to the hearing.
The court ruled that the elections committee must meet with Peretz and Cabel within three days to hear their defense against the committee’s charges that they forged the signatures of hundreds of Histadrut members on forms enabling them to run.
Within three days of that meeting, the committee must decide whether the two will be permitted to run in the May 22 election. If the committee decides to bar either of them from running, they may return to the court.
Peretz called the court’s decision a victory for him and Cabel, because it criticized the elections committee. The court questioned why the committee dismissed signatures as forgeries based on phone calls checking their authenticity, instead of visiting the workers and asking them personally whether they had signed the forms.
The judges also questioned why Peretz’s candidacy was not approved, despite his submission of more than the 5,000 required membership forms – whose authenticity has not been questioned.
The committee responded that out of the workers they had questioned so far, 30 percent had been disqualified, and if that trend continued, Peretz would not be left with enough signatures to run.
A spokesman for the committee said the hearing was not required but offered to Peretz and Cabel as a service, and therefore the committee did not have a problem with its cancellation. The spokesman expressed satisfaction with the court’s decision to reject Peretz’s request to disqualify the committee.
Peretz’s lawyer, Ilan Bombach, said he would continue to pursue the committee’s disqualification, due to what he called its undemocratic management, improper work methods and lack of objectivity.
“If this is how the committee behaves during the technical process of authorizing candidates, how can it be trusted to count the votes on election night?” Bombach asked.
The Tel Aviv District Court will decide next Monday whether Cabel can run in the election, even though he did not pay his Histadrut membership dues for the required amount of time. Peretz has said that if Cabel is permitted to run, he would drop out of the race and support him in an effort to defeat Eini, his political nemesis.