Yacimovich Blasts Herzog for Seeking to Delay Israeli Labor Party Primary Till 2017

She said an 'artificial extension' of Herzog's term was unconstitutional and undemocratic, and that it would mean the party would face an extended 'destructive' primary campaign at the height of the public's 'crisis of confidence' with it.

Tomer Appelbaum

Shelly Yacimovich blasted Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog over the weekend for his plan to defer the party’s primary until the end of July 2017.

Yacimovich had previously demanded that the election be held this December. She said an “artificial extension” of Herzog’s term without an election was unconstitutional and undemocratic, adding that it would mean the party would face an extended “destructive” primary campaign at the height of the public’s “crisis of confidence” with it.

According to the party constitution, the leadership election should actually have been held about two months ago. However, it was initially postponed by agreement of all involved.

The party convention is expected to convene at the end of this month to decide whether to support Herzog’s proposal to have the leadership contest deferred until next year.

In her weekly email to supporters, Yacimovich took Herzog to task for how he has performed as leader of the opposition in the Knesset since his failed efforts to join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government this spring.

She also criticized Herzog’s refusal to rule out joining a government headed by Netanyahu’s Likud party if such a move would moderate the coalition’s policy guidelines and substantially advance the peace process with the Palestinians.

The Labor Party, together with Tzipi Livni’s Hatnuah party, make up the Zionist Union faction in the Knesset.

“This difficult week again demonstrates how much the country needs an opposition that is strong, determined, credible, reliable and exciting, and that provides hope – that is focused on national goals rather than internal wheeler-dealing,” Yacimovich wrote. “It’s no secret that the public has a serious crisis of confidence with us,” she added, “and it’s taken off to new heights since the attempts to crawl into the government at any price.”

Yacimovich, who is a former Labor Party leader herself, claimed that Herzog was illegally trying to extend his term until July 2017, which she said was 14 months beyond what the party’s constitution provides.

Herzog, she added, was doing so without a mandate from the party’s full membership. “No party chairman before him has dared do this,” she said, herself included.

Calling Herzog’s attempts to extend his term underhanded, undemocratic and destructive, she said it puts the Labor Party in an even worse situation and one in which it faces a 13-month leadership campaign. “It’s a lethal blow,” she concluded.