Top Labor MK setting his sights on party leadership
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Top Labor MK setting his sights on party leadership

Citing his wide support base, Eitan Cabel says he will run if Herzog quits as chief due to corruption allegations

Zionist Union MK Eitan Cabel. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Zionist Union MK Eitan Cabel. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

MK Eitan Cabel said he intends to run for the leadership of the Labor party should current chairman Isaac Herzog step down over recent corruption allegations.

Speaking at the party’s conference in Netanya, Cabel stressed that he would only submit his candidacy should Herzog quit, Israel Hayom reported Thursday.

“After Herzog I see myself as a contender,” Cabel told the convention. “It will be my time.” He claimed to have a wide support base within the party, which he said had led to the successful election of the current head of the Jewish National Fund.

“I have a big camp [behind me]. We’ve already seen its success when I managed to place Dani Atar at the head of the JNF,” Cabel said.

Isaac Herzog addresses the Knesset on February 10, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Isaac Herzog addresses the Knesset on February 10, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Herzog is awaiting a police decision on whether to initiate a criminal investigation against him, following allegations of corruption during the 2013 race for the party leadership, in which he defeated then-leader Shelly Yachimovich.

If the police do decide to launch a criminal investigation, Herzog is expected to step down as Labor leader, triggering a fresh primary election.

“No tainted person will stand at the head of our party, including me,” Herzog told members Sunday in a letter posted on the Labor party website. “As far as I’m concerned, if I’m called [to answer allegations] I will answer every question, plot and malicious inquiry.”

Herzog came under fire from fellow Labor party members during a contentious meeting of the party last month, for seeking to delay the date of the next scheduled primaries.

Among those staunchly decrying the move was MK Erel Margalit, who told Herzog: “To delay the primaries for two years is to put the party in the freezer and gives [Benjamin] Netanyahu the keys to the country.”

Two days earlier, at a party convention held in Beersheba, Margalit called on former IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi to join the party, apparently in an effort to strengthen its ranks with a major political player.

— The Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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