New Labor leader Herzog dreams of center-left bloc

Days after beating Yachimovich for Labor Party leadership, Herzog reveals political vision for future – Labor, Yesh Adit, Hatnua, Kadima, Meretz merger to form center-left bloc – but promises he has no plans to join government

"Naturally, I see myself as a candidate for the premiership, as a viable alternative to ( Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu," newly elected Labor Party Chairman MK Isaac 'Bougie' Herzog said Saturday.


Only days after beating MK Shelly Yachimovich for the leadership of the Labor Party, Herzog – who has served as a government minister five times in a number of key roles – has big plans, but is no rush – "the time for this will come," he says.


Related stories:


Nonetheless, Herzog knows what he wants: A left wing party merger. "We need to considered cooperations in anticipation of the next election, we need to present a wide and inclusive spectrum that can serve as an alternative to right-wing rule," he explained.


Herzog celebrates victory with MK Michaeli (R), MK Cabel (L) (Photo: AFP)
Herzog celebrates victory with MK Michaeli (R), MK Cabel (L) (Photo: AFP)


"I'm talking about Labor, Yesh Atid, Hatnua, Meretz, Kadima as well as other social and civilian movements."


In the meantime he has no intention to join the government collation. "In its current composition Labor has business in this government." He told Yedioth Ahronoth Saturday.


"If Netanyahu will go forward with a brave attempt at peace, I will convene the party's top brass to discuss the issue," but until that day, Herzog seems resolve to remain leader of the opposition, a position he also inherited upon his victory over Yachimovich.


Herzog dreams of left-wing bloc (Photo: AFP) (Photo: AFP)
Herzog dreams of left-wing bloc (Photo: AFP)


Hetzog's house in the Tel Aviv's northern Tzahala neighborhood was overflowing with guests and flowers over the weekend, and Herzog's phone was ringing off the hook from call from supporters and well-wishers.


"I didn't thing the gap would be so big," he says of his 16% victory over Yachimovich, "but in the street I knew I would win. There was the support of (Histrdrut Labor Federation Chairman Ofer) Eini, and Amir Peretz's people also gave their support – they were looking for a home (after Peretz left the party in favor of Hatnua) and they found me."


Peretz left Labor before the election after a long public riff with Yachimovich, a woman who joined the party to support his social-agenda.


Unlike many party activies, Herzog does not accept the claims that more than he won, Yachimovich lost. "It is a mix of both, there is a looser but there is also a winner."


No scores to settle  

He stressed that he does not want Yachimovich to leave the party, "there was tension and bad blood, people are disappointed at her term, and it trickled into the core of the party, such parts of her base moved to my side. But she did the party a great service, she led important struggles and promoted a social agenda – a will not hold anything against her, we plan to meet and talk about everything."


Breaking with party tradition, Herzog further promised no harm would come of to party activists who supported Yachimovich – "each and every party member has called me to congratulate me and no one has any reason for concern. I have no desire to settle the score with anyone."


In the meantime, the new chairman is more than aware that expectations are high and conditions tough – so he makes an effort to tune down anticipations.


"My motto is to try, but I won't promise anything," he says. "Expectations are sky high, almost unrealistic. I want to put the long term process of opening the party up to a wider array of audiences into motion, in addition to ideological development. We will be a modern social-democratic party, with a civilian agenda which fits the unique mosaic of Israeli society."




  • Receive Ynetnews updates directly to your desktop




פרסום ראשון: 11.24.13, 14:25
 new comment
This will delete your current comment