Hundreds of Labor activists arrived at the party’s headquarters in south Tel Aviv’s Hatikva neighborhood ahead of the March general elections.
“I only ask that there be no rifts or separate camps,” Labor Chairman Amir Peretz said during the event.
“We do not have the luxury of wasting energy on arguments – we must move forward and not disappoint the public.
“There is no difference between a hungry Jewish child and a hungry Arab child, and there is no difference between a new retiree who looks for food in a trash can and a veteran retiree who does the same thing,” Peretz went on to say.
'This sort of energy is rare.' Labor convention (Photo: Tomeriko)
New recruit Shelly Yechimovitz,
along with a host of Labor Knesset members, was on hand for the event.
'I am here because we have no other home'
The Labor chairman also addressed Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s remarks earlier
in the day, saying, “We are no less capable of safeguarding Israel’s security than you are. We will be relentless in our fight against terror, but we know how to treat people better than you; we know how to make sure new immigrants can purchase apartments."
Yechimovitz said, “I have attended many political events in the past, but this sort of energy is rare; there is a feeling that change is upon us – there is a feeling of hope.”
Yoram Marciano, a close associate of Shimon Peres, was one of only a few who spoke of the former prime minister, who recently resigned from the party: “I am here because we have no other home. I accompanied Shimon since 1990. I phoned (Peres’ wife) Sonya, and she told me, ‘Yoram, you don’t switch homes; support Amir Peretz’.”
Despite the optimistic atmosphere, members of the party’s old-guard expressed fears that Peretz’s camp would take over the list of candidates for Knesset.