Amir Peretz Announces Bid for Israeli Labor Party Leadership

Peretz, a former defense minister, says only he can bring new constituents to the center-left party.

Amir Peretz announces Labor leadership bid, December 19, 2016.
Emil Salman

MK Amir Peretz announced on Monday his candidacy for Labor Party chairman. This is the fourth time Peretz is running for party leadership.

"The State of Israel today is a divided and conflicted country," Peretz said, detailing some of the country's social ills. Peretz accused members of the governing coalition of allowing the labeling of opponents as traitors.

"I will not allow this discourse, [about] who is more loyal and who contributes more, to push aside the appropriate political discourse, concerning what is really needed to be done in Israel," Peretz said.

The Labor chief contender said he aims to replace Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud-led government.

"I firmly believe that I'm the only candidate today that can attract other sectors to the Labor Party," Peretz said. "I come with the experience and ability to lead the Israeli public toward healing."

Peretz, who led the party between 2005 and 2007, served as defense minister during the 2006 Second Lebanon War in the Kadima-led government. Peretz was defeated in the 2007 Labor leadership race by Ehud Barak.