The new chairman of the Labor party, MK Yitzchak Herzog, said on Saturday evening that he was “in no rush” to join Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s coalition.
"If Netanyahu goes for a bold diplomatic move [vis a vis the peace talks] - I'll be there to help him, either from the government or outside the government," Herzog told Channel 10 News.
"This is an evil coalition,” he charged, adding, “There is no reason to join this coalition, when you hear the Foreign Minister saying that Israel’s relationship with the United States is passé. So who will be our ally, Moldova? Even China, a very important country, has always voted against us. So we have one ally. If I were an American official I would be freaking out over [Liberman’s] position.”
MK Herzog said he had a pleasant conversation with Netanyahu, who congratulated him on his victory. "I told the Prime Minister I would be happy to meet him at any time. I do not make a big deal out of these meetings. I respect the Prime Minister and I will meet him. He himself knows he should not sleep with one eye open in anticipation of me joining his coalition tomorrow."
Herzog said he received a call from Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and indicated that he intends to meet with him.
“It's no secret that I think the people of Israel, even though some like to repress it, must understand - and I do not say this out of a love for the Palestinians or a desire to give up parts of the country - that we must separate ourselves from the Palestinians,” he stated.
Yechimovich: I’ll support Herzog, despite the loss
Meanwhile on Saturday, MK Shelly Yechimovich who lost out to Herzog in the race for the Labor leadership, indicated that she would support Herzog and not leave the party.
"We live, breathe and work within a democratic party and therefore we respect the results of the democratic elections and are now joining forces for joint cooperation with the elected chairman," she said at a meeting with activists.
"I swore that I would not do to the elected chairman what was done to me when I was elected," she added, referring to opposition to her leadership from within the party, particularly from Amir Peretz, who subsequently defected from Labor to join Hatnua.
Yechimovich said that she planned to remain in the party with "no threats and no demands for positions. Leadership is not built through jobs and deals.”
Despite the bitter failure, she said she accepts the decision of the voters. "Not only am I not even thinking about leaving the party, in fact we should be more involved and more dominant. It’s time to strengthen the party. I'm going to completely stand beside the person who was elected and give him all the support possible."
During his Channel 10 interview, Herzog said that Yechimovich “was wrong in her assessment throughout the process, about her chances of winning and about my chances. Yechimovich was the one who called for these primaries. She announced them. I suggested to her three times to postpone them. She wanted elections now.”
At the same time, said Herzog, “We had a very good conversation yesterday and we will meet again. We work together well.”