Peretz Faces Revolt in Labor Party

YERUSHALAYIM -
israel labor
Labour party chairman Amir Peretz, shown here during a visit to the Mivrag factory in Kibbutz Ein HaShofet, Monday. (Flash90)

The same day that senior Labor MK Stav Shaffir left the party to join the new Democratic Camp, media reports told of a move to oust chairman Amir Peretz.

“Peretz endangers the existence of the party,” senior officials were quoted as saying.

An insurgent group have asked the recently ousted chairman Avi Gabbay to call on the party’s central committee to remove Peretz from office when it meets next in late July.

Peretz’s decision to abruptly end negotiations with Meretz for an electoral alliance in favor of enlisting Orly Levy Abekasis’s Gesher precipitated a furor in the party, especially as the deal excluded the possibility of joining with Meretz.

The party’s No. 2, MK Itzik Shmuli, urged Peretz on Thursday to reverse course and reopen negotiations with Meretz, now part of the Democratic Camp with Ehud Barak’s Israel Democratic Party.

“I very much hope that in the time that is left we will manage to bring the Labor party into such a merger,” Shmuli told Army Radio.

Otherwise, he indicated that he might be the next Labor MK to leave, saying [I will] “decide my future in politics in the coming week.”

If he did leave Labor, he said it “would bring it to electoral collapse and it might not pass the [Knesset] threshold.”

Oshi Elmaliah, a confidant of Barak, told Army Radio the new bloc “would be very happy to see Itzik Shmuli and other people joining.”

Officially, the Labor party welcomed the Democratic Camp alliance, which it said “will prevent votes lost on a slate that won’t pass the electoral threshold and threatened to lose votes for the center-left.”