Beersheba mayor said to reject offer to be Labor No. 2
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Beersheba mayor said to reject offer to be Labor No. 2

Opposition party chief Avi Gabbay also rebuffed by ex-Yesh Atid MK Haim Jelin, to whom he reportedly offered 10th place on electoral slate

Beersheba Mayor Ruvik Danilovich received an award for his achievements in the southern city during a ceremony at the Knesset on June 23, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Beersheba Mayor Ruvik Danilovich received an award for his achievements in the southern city during a ceremony at the Knesset on June 23, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The mayor of the southern city of Beersheba said Monday that he had turned down Labor chief Avi Gabbay’s offer of a guaranteed place on the opposition party’s slate of candidates for April’s Knesset elections.

Gabbay offered Ruvik Danilovich the Number 2 spot on Labor’s electoral ticket, according to Hebrew media reports, which is reserved for a candidate of the party leader’s choosing. The 10th and 16th spots will also be filled at Gabbay’s discretion.

“In the last three Knesset election campaigns I received offers from various parties to be placed on their lists… I see my public service in the Negev as a national mission,” Danilovich said in a statement.

“I intend to continue to serve the country from the Negev,” he added.

Danilovich was elected mayor of Beersheba in 2008 and was reelected to serve a third term in October with over 90 percent of the vote. He was formerly a member of Labor but has headed independent lists in municipal elections.

Haim Jelin (Ben Kelmer/Flash90)

Earlier, Channel 12 news reported that Gabbay had offered former Yesh Atid MK Haim Jelin the number 10 spot in Labor, but was rebuffed.

Jelin, a former head of the Gaza-area Eshkol Regional Council, announced last week he would leave Yesh Atid, reportedly upon learning he was unlikely to serve in the next Knesset after receiving a low spot on the centrist party’s electoral list.

“Haim Jelin has no ideological problem with Labor but he won’t jump from party to party in order to be a Knesset member,” unnamed associates of Jelin were quoted as saying by Ynet.

Avi Gabbay, leader of the Labor Party, speaks during a party meeting in Tel Aviv on February 13, 2019. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

The rejection of Gabbay’s offers for a reserved spot in Labor comes as the party has seen a bump in polls since holding internal primaries last week, but is still projected to fall well short of the 19 seats it currently holds.

Gabbay, a former minister for the Kulanu party, faces considerable criticism from a number of Labor lawmakers ahead of the primary over his stewardship of the party amid its sagging electoral strength.

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