Labor Party activists disrupted a speech by party leader Isaac Herzog at a party meeting Sunday night in Holon, to protest his repeated postponement of elections for party secretary-general, a post occupied by Hilik Bar since 2010.
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Activists blew whistles and heckled Herzog during his address. People who were present said that some of the activists began scuffling with each other, leading Herzog to wrap up his remarks quickly. A leading party activist who was present said, “I’ve never seen such chaos in my life. Herzog fled quickly from the stage. They didn’t let him speak. They kept blowing whistles at him.” A party spokesman later said that Herzog had not truncated his speech because of the heckling.
According to people present, Bar confronted the activists and accused one of those leading the protest against the election postponement, Amnon Zilberman, of leaking to Channel 2 a recording of Bar criticizing Herzog’s conduct.
“We don’t like provocateurs and people who record conversations here,” Bar told Zilberman. “You bring Likud people here and are trying to destroy our home from within. No one wants to hear you here, you can go straight to [Channel 2 journalist] Rina Matzliach.”
Bar’s tenure as Labor’s secretary-general is the longest in the history of the party. At least twice during his tenure elections for the position that were meant to take place, did not. Before the elections last year he was meant to stop serving as secretary-general, but continued in the post after entering the Knesset in the slot among the party’s top 10 that was reserved for the secretary-general.
Zilberman, the secretary of Labor’s Kfar Shalem branch, is seeking to contend for the Bar’s job. He told Haaretz he had come to the gathering with dozens of activists to protest the lack of democracy in the party.
“Time after time they snatch away the elections for secretary-general and the party bureau,” Zilberman said. “Hilik Bar remains glued to his seat time after time in a corrupt fashion. I’m a member of Herzog’s camp; I managed his field staff. I’m close to him, but I’m calling on Bar to resign.”
Bar responded that the party convention would decide democratically on its internal procedures. “If this activist wants to be a member of a party in which the convention doesn’t decide democratically, he’s welcome to work for [Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor] Lieberman’s party or that of [Yesh Atid chairman Yair] Lapid.”