search

Zionist Union meeting descends into open revolt over Labor leadership

MK Erel Margalit accuses Isaac Herzog of ‘destroying’ Labor, tells Tzipi Livni she’s just a ‘guest’

Zionist Union MKs (Erel Margalit (3rd left) and Tzipi Livni (5th left) argue during a faction meeting at the Knesset on March 7, 2016 (screen capture: Channel 2)
Zionist Union MKs (Erel Margalit (3rd left) and Tzipi Livni (5th left) argue during a faction meeting at the Knesset on March 7, 2016 (screen capture: Channel 2)

Simmering tensions in the Labor Party burst to the surface Monday in a contentious meeting of the Zionist Union faction in the Knesset.

Zionist Union is an amalgam of Labor and Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua party, with the bigger and more established Labor taking the senior spot.

In a video captured on a cell phone camera in the meeting, MKs are seen shouting and accusing each other of hurting their party’s popularity.

Herzog is seeking to change the party’s bylaws to delay the next primary for party leader for two years, likely in the hope that he’ll still be leader when the Knesset calls new elections.

Member of Knesset Erel Margalit, who is mulling a challenge for party leader, shouted at Herzog that he was a “dictator.”

Isaac Herzog seen with MK Tzipi Livni at a Zionist Union party meeting in the Knesset on February 29, 2016. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
Isaac Herzog (right) seen with MK Tzipi Livni at a Zionist Union party meeting in the Knesset on February 29, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash0)

“Labor and Zionist Union will disappear because there’s no legitimacy to a leadership that doesn’t go to elections,” Margalit is heard yelling in the video.

“To delay primaries for two years is to put the party in the freezer and gives Netanyahu the keys to the country.”

Livni interrupted Margalit: “No, no, no, no. What destroys the Zionist Union is that every day someone comes from Labor with his personal issues,” she charged.

“You’re a guest in this party,” Margalit replied, shouting.

MK Erel Margalit (Photo credit: Courtesy)
MK Erel Margalit (Courtesy)

Labor MK Eitan Cabel called on Margalit to “stop spinning all of us,” leading Margalit to shout back that Cabel and Herzog were “destroying the party.”

Labor is famous for its internal rivalries, felling its party leaders on average every two years since it last held the premiership in 2001. Its rival Likud, in contrast, has had just four leaders since the founding of the state in 1948.

Monday’s closed-door meeting of Zionist Union lawmakers was not the first time Margalit publicly excoriated Herzog for attempting to delay the primaries. At a Saturday event in Beersheba, Margalit called on Herzog to expedite the primaries, and urged former Israel Defense Forces chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi to join the party.

Postponing the primaries for two years, Margalit said, would be a “grave mistake.”

read more:
comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed