Herzog Warns Defeat Could Break Up Zionist Camp

YERUSHALAYIM -
Herzog, Isaac Herzog
Zionist Camp leader Isaac Herzog leading a faction meeting in the Knesset last week. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog warned on Sunday that if he is defeated in the Labor Party election for chairman, the Zionist Camp coalition with Tzipi Livni’s party could be doomed.

“There is a chance if I won’t be elected, this [Zionist Camp] will disintegrate because of tension above the surface and beneath it,” Herzog said at a debate with five of the other candidates to replace him.

Herzog called for expanding the existing coalition — under his continued leadership — into a larger center-left bloc that could beat the Likud in the next election.

Current challenger and former Labor leader Amir Peretz dismissed the idea, saying that Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid has said he would not join such a bloc. Without Lapid, Herzog cannot mount a serious challenge to Netanyahu, according to recent data. An April survey showed Yesh Atid with 24 seats to Likud’s 28, and Zionist Camp with only 12.

Amir Peretz, Erel Margalit and Omer Bar-Lev were among those who sparred with Herzog and each other in the debate.

Labor members will decide if they still want Herzog or one of the other candidates on July 4.