Opposition Chairman MK Isaac Herzog (Labor)
slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
and Finance Minister Yair Lapid
in his first speech as Labor party chairman.
Addressing the Labor party's convention, Herzog said "I stand here today to launch Labor's election campaign. This is the first step in a long journey at the end of which we will replace the government."
A large portion of Herzog's speech focused on peace negotiation currently being brokered by the US. Herzog stressed that Labor is adamant in its commitment to support the peace process.
"I have told the prime minister we'll support him if he is to lead a diplomatic solution (to the conflict). I told he has a mandate for an agreement. He has a mandate to reach a deal on final borders. He has a mandate to find a solution (to the conflict) without which the Jewish people will have no home, no Zionist vision, to blooming economy and no proper relations with the international community."
Herzog at Labor Party convention (Photo: Ido Erez)
"Friends, Bibi (Netanyahu) is not missing votes in the Knesset, the question is only if he has the backbone," Herzog said.
He addressed Netanyahu directly saying "Bibi, if you should decide not to follow through against, if you continue to act like visionless CEO, if you continue to find excuses and lead scare campaigns, we will replace you faster than you can imagine."
The Labor leader also spoke about economic issues and the plight of the middle and lower classes. "Israel
deserves a developed economy. Economics is not an exact science, it is a social outlook. Israel deserves an economy which places the citizen at its heart, not an economy that cuts the State's budget, not an economy that shakes the middle class in a bid to extract a few extra hours of work out of them, not an economy which cuts welfare stipends and raises living expenses, especially not an economy which finds every way to pass funds to the settlements."
Herzog continued, personally slamming Netanyahu for the housing crisis: "Mr. Prime Minister… it is true that the sky-high house-prices are an ongoing failure spanning many years – but what can I do that these are exactly the years you have served as prime minister. This failure is on you Mr. Prime Minister."
Taking a jab at Lapid, Herzog said that the finance minister's sole achievement is "making Israelis miss (previous finance minster Yuval) Steinitz."