Labor Party Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich has called MK Isaac Herzog to congratulate him in his victory in the Labor party chairmanship race.
After the final tally, Herzog won 58.5% of the votes while Yachimovich gained only 41.5%. In total, 28,806 party members voted, representing some 52.7% of eligible voters, a relatively low turnout.
Making a statement after his victory, Herzog said that Labor would rise up to challenge the government
He criticized the government’s management of both social-economic issues and diplomacy, “Only brave steps towards peace with the Palestinians will enable us to win on all fronts. I have great doubt that the prime minister understands this,” he said Herzog said he was determined to work with all members of the faction in order to restore Labor’s political and social vision to the front and center of Israeli politics.
“We are facing a historical moment, you can almost feel the ground move,” Herzog said, detailing the challenges Israel is currently facing – Iran, and the peace talks with the Palestinians.
“Only real steps and peace would allow us [Israel] to prevail on all fronts, and I highly doubt Prime Minister [Binyamin] Netanyahu can see that,” he said. “This can be Labor’s greatest hour.”
He also vowed to bring a social and just change to the Israeli economy.
Herzog, whose father was former president Chaim Herzog, was raised in the Labor party and is a long-time member of the party.
“We are embarking on a new journey today, at the end of which we will once again be a large party that can challenge the [current] Israeli government,” Herzog said in his victory speech at Tel Aviv’s Beit Sokolow. “And this is a journey I will not make on my own.
Yesh Atid chairman and Finance Minister Yair Lapid congratulated Herzog in a post on his Facebook page, saying he was happy for his win in the labor primaries. “Big congrats to Isaac Herzog, he is a friend of mine already for a long time and I am happy for him for his victory.”
Lapid has 19 seats in the present coalition and can bring down the government any time he chooses. Lapid’s Yesh Atid is a centrist peace seeking party, while Labor leads the opposition with 15 seats and is considered left wing and a strong for peace party.
The Netanyahu government has been doing all it can to stall and block the present peace talks and may collapse over the coming US tabling of parameters for a deal in January.
That could easily result in new Israeli elections during which a regional war may take place, after which a new peace oriented coalition government in Israel could begin a genuine peace dialogue.
The entire Palestinian peace delegation resigned over Israel’s continued settlement construction earlier this month.
While Abbas rejected chief negotiator Saeb Erekat’s resignation, a Palestinian official told Ma’an the rest of the delegation will be replaced. Abbas has accepted the resignation of negotiator Mohammad Shtayyeh, and the rest of the team but asked Erekat to remain as team leader,
Another negotiation meeting is reportedly scheduled for next week.