Gabbay wins right to woo generals
Labor chairman Avi Gabbay passed sweeping changes in his party’s constitution at a convention on Thursday that will aid his efforts to recruit former generals.
The changes give Gabbay the right to select four candidates in realistic slots for the next Knesset, two of whom would be placed in the top 10 on the list. Gabbay said this week that if he became prime minister, he would appoint a former IDF chief of staff as his defense minister.
There are six former IDF chiefs of staff who are currently not part of an existing political party: Gabi Ashkenazi, Ehud Barak, Benny Gantz, Dan Halutz, Shaul Mofaz and Moshe Ya’alon. The Jerusalem Post asked all six if they were interested in a reserved slot on the Labor list and none agreed to comment.
The changes approved at the convention make Gabbay the strongest chairman ever in the storied history of his party and its forerunners. The new Labor leader also received the right to choose the party’s faction head, Knesset committee chairmen, and which MKs will serve on each committee.
“We have one goal – to bring change to Israel, and we will reach this goal if we win,” Gabbay said. “There will be no more camps in Labor.”
Former Labor chairman MK Amir Peretz, who lost to Gabbay in the July 10 party leadership race, challenged Gabbay, saying that it is wrong to give him the right to reserve slots without knowing who they were for. He said he would welcome reserved slots for Ashkenazi or Gantz
Peretz said Gabbay’s changes were undemocratic. He warned him against receiving advice from “the tweeter who brought our party down to 13 [Knesset] seats,” referring to Barak.
After the vote, Peretz hinted he would have won if the vote was conducted by secret ballot. A request for a secret-ballot vote by an activist loyal to Peretz was rejected by an internal Labor court. Another court ruled on Thursday that Labor must hold elections for party institutions by April, which Peretz said was good news for him.
Unlike previous Labor conventions, Gabbay did not let the event be emceed by the party’s secretary-general, Eran Hermoni. Hermoni delivered a fiery speech in which he defended his opposition to Gabbay.
“I fought against proposals that would harm Labor, because that is what happens in a democratic party,” Hermoni said.
LABOR PARTY chairman Avi Gabbay (left) speaks with his predecessor, MK Isaac Herzog, during the party’s convention yesterday in Tel Aviv.