Herzog Agrees to Stay on as Israeli Opposition Leader Despite Labor Primary Loss

Newcomer Avi Gabbay, who won the Labor Party's primary elections, is not a member of Knesset and therefore cannot fill the post

Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Isaac Herzog and Avi Gabbay.
Isaac Herzog and Avi Gabbay.Credit: Moti Milrod
Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson

Former Labor Party chairman Isaac Herzog agreed on Wednesday to stay on as opposition leader, despite his recent loss to newcomer Avi Gabbay in the party's leadership race. Gabbay, who is not a member of Knesset, cannot serve as opposition leader.

"I have great sorrow, but will help you in any way possible," Herzog told Gabbay, who had asked his predecessor to remain in his post. "I thank you for calling on me to continue serving as the chairman of the opposition," he added.

For his part, Gabbay expressed satisfaction with Herzog's decision. "I am very glad that Isaac is continuing on as opposition chairman," he said. Referring to the latest polls, which showed the Zionist Union gaining more seats and narrowing the gap with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud, Gabbay said "voters are returning, it's happening."

"Our job is to bring everyone back [to the party], but more than all the polls, I am encouraged by the reactions from all the parties, on the left, on the right, religious and ultra-Orthodox [parties]. We will again be a party in which every Israeli feels at home."

A day after he defeated his rival Amir Peretz in the party primary runoff, Gabbay declared that "the campaign to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu starts today."

“Israel has announced new elections, as far as we’re concerned. We will replace Netanyahu and win the 30 Knesset seats needed,” he said.

Since Gabbay's victory over Peretz, a former party leader and defense minister, large numbers of people have asked to join Labor. “The internet site crashed, the telephone switchboard collapsed. People want to join because they understand that this is the way they can strengthen us,” he said.

According to a Channel 10 poll, if elections were to take place today, Likud would win with 29 seats, the Zionist Union, which includes the Labor Party, would receive 24 seats and Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid would receive 16 seats.

Channel 2's poll provided similar results: Likud would win with 25 seats, Zionist Union would come in second with 20 seats and Yesh Atid would receive 18 seats.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN


Palestinians search through the rubble of a building in which Khaled Mansour, a top Islamic Jihad militant was killed following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza strip, on Sunday.

Gazans Are Tired of Pointless Wars and Destruction, and Hamas Listens to Them

Trump and Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, in 2020.

Three Years Later, Israelis Find Out What Trump Really Thought of Netanyahu

German soldier.

The Rival Jewish Spies Who Almost Changed the Course of WWII

Rio. Not all Jewish men wear black hats.

What Does a Jew Look Like? The Brits Don't Seem to Know

Galon. “I’m coming to accomplish a specific mission: to increase Meretz’s strength and ensure that the party will not tread water around the electoral threshold. If Meretz will be large enough, it will be the basis for a Jewish-Arab partnership.” Daniel Tchetchik

'I Have No Illusions About Ending the Occupation, but the Government Needs the Left'

Soldiers using warfare devices made by the Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems.

Russia-Ukraine War Catapults Israeli Arms Industry to Global Stage