Though Labor Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich was able to maintain – and even slightly improve – the party's position in the House, adding two seats, the party is less than pleased, having expected a result far better than "just" the third-largest party in the Knesset.
- Yachimovich to Lapid: Don't join Bibi gov't
- Yachimovich insists: Political upset possible
- Yachimovich: PM is stressed; transition is coming
Yachimovich, who seems to have ruffled the feathers of many in the party since she was elected chairwoman, was the target of harsh criticism by party members Wednesday. "She ran the campaign as if it was a dictatorship. No one was party to anything," a Labor sours told Ynet.
While senior Labor members acknowledged that Yachimovich was able to rehabilitate the party, they too said she could have probably done better.
"The campaign was a one-woman show," a senior party member told Ynet. "It was worse that being under (Shimon) Peres and (Yitzhak) Rabin, who were always very secretive and apprehensive.
"She can't complain because we all did what she asked us to do – we stepped back and let her work. She alone is to blame for this."
Yachimovich at Labor's HQ, Tuesday (Photo: Ido Erez)
MK Daniel Ben-Simon, who will soon depart the House as he was slated low on the party's roster, said that "This result is painful and disappointing. We wanted to be the ones Israelis could turn to… but people just didn't believe the message."
Yachimovich, he added, "Swallowed the party whole and made the election about her. The party had no choice but to take a back seat to her ambition. At the end of the day, when it comes to gaining the public's trust, she lost," he said.
Gearing for political upset?
Yachimovich has pledged to head the opposition and has urged Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid – whose party won 19 mandates – to refuse any offer by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to join the collation.
According to Labor insiders, however, she is more than ready to pursue a political upset and recommend Lapid as the new prime minister.
Israel's election process demands that once an election is held and an apparent winner is chosen, the chairpersons of each political party recommend to the president who he should task with forming the government.
The election results have split the Knesset 60-60 between the Right and the Center-left blocs. If Lapid refuses to join the coalition, it will be within his power to demand new general elections.
"If he really wants to effect change then let him prove it," Yachimovich told party confidants.
Labor sources said that if Lapid feels that he can form the government "(…) then he should demand it and we will back him. If he feels he's too inexperienced in politics, he should recommend Shelly.
"In any case, since there's a tie in the Knesset, he has no reason to join the coalition."
This potential move was also criticized by the party. A Labor source told Ynet that "A Lapid-Yachimovich government would be perceived as the worse kind of spin and would probably entail far-reaching allowances to the religious parties.
"It would bring about political paralysis and chaos and we would be blamed for it," he said.
Tzika Brot contributed to this report
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop