Labor party chairman Avi Gabbay announced Wednesday evening that he is withdrawing from political life one day after declaring that he will not run in the party's upcoming primaries for party head.
Gabbay said that he made the decision a while ago while he continued deliberating over whether to remain in the Knesset or not. "I consulted extensively with many people," he said.
Gabbay also wrote that in May 2016 he was at a similar junction over whether to remain a minister in Netanyahu's government or go with his heart and resign, which he ultimately did.
Gabbay rejected staying on in the party ranks: "Outside of politics, when a CEO finishes, he moved on and does not remain to work under his former subordinate… And I do not want to continue the phenomenon." Gabbay did say that he accepts responsibility for his share in the party's dismal state.
He expressed frustration of his fellow party members who are not keen on seeing him continue as leader of the party following its lackluster performance in the April elections. He wrote that the party culture of infighting and wrangling has not changed and is distancing the party from many potential voters.
"I believe that a party that cannot unite and move forward cannot ask the public to entrust it with leading the country," Gabbay said. "It is important for me to stress that I am a big believer in the ideals of the party and I believe that out principles serve the entire Israeli public.
"As chairman, I have not succeeded in changing the party culture and I will certainly not succeed as a rank and file MK. Without changing this culture, the party cannot succeed," Gabbay added.
Gabbay served as the CEO of Bezeq communications company before joining Moshe Kahlon in founding the Kulanu party through which he served as minister of the environment, before resigning after the prime minister gave Avigdor Liberman the defense portfolio over Moshe Ya'alon.
In 2016, Gabbay joined the Labor party and went on to beat Amir Peretz in the race for the party leadership. As a minister he was not an MK and only became a Knesset member following the latest elections in which Labor garnered six seats.