Labor Party Knesset List Announced

Herzog, Pines-Paz and newcomer Prof. Braverman have received the top spots in the Labor primaries for its Knesset list. Calls are being made to include Barak to balance out the left-wing tilt.

Hillel Fendel , | updated: 10:07 AM

Final results were announced at Labor headquarters in Tel Aviv shortly after 11 AM this morning, 13 hours after the polls closed. Labor Party Chairman Amir Peretz, greeted enthusiastically by the crowd, said, "Today is the turning point! Today is the day we start going from house to house."

Less than 60% (68,331) of Labor Party members voted in yesterday's nationwide Labor primaries. In the Likud vote last week, 91% of eligible voters showed up; however, only 3,100 voters were eligible - namely, the Likud's Central Committee membership.

Numbers 2 and 3 on the party list, after Peretz, are Yitzchak Herzog [pictured above, son of former President Chaim Herzog] and Ophir Pines-Paz. They are the young MKs who surprised the public last year when they won the top spots in a Labor vote for ministerial positions, beating out several veteran Labor leaders.

The Labor Party list appears to have a distinct left-wards tilt. Prof. Avishai Braverman of Be'er Sheva University will be in the fourth spot, followed by MKs Yuli Tamir and Eitan Cabel. Tamir was was active in the Ratz party (now part of Meretz) from 1980-1985, and was one of the founders of the extremist left-wing Peace Now movement. Cabel spearheaded the campaign against Arutz-7, which ended over two years ago with the radio station's leaving the airwaves.

Former GSS leader Ami Ayalon and former party chairman Binyamin Ben-Eliezer are next on the Labor Knesset list.

Ex-broadcaster Shelly Yechimovich, whose left-wing views are well-known from her years in journalism, will apparently be in the 9th slot - the party's second spot reserved for women. She has said in the past that she supported a Communist party. Number 10 will be Michael Melchior of the left-wing religious Meimad party, which joined up with Labor back in 1999.

Former party leader candidate Matan Vilnai is currently in the 11th spot, followed by Collete Avital (in the third slot reserved for women), Ephraim Sneh, and Danny Yatom.

Missing from the party leadership are Shimon Peres, Chaim Ramon and Dalia Itzik, who recently quit the party to join Kadima.

The big story in Labor, however, is whether party chairman Amir Peretz will reach out to his long-time rival former Prime Minister Ehud Barak and ask him to rejoin the party leadership. Leading Laborites have asked Peretz to do so, but he has not yet committed himself.

In the background of the political events are the polls, which consistently show Labor receiving fewer than half the Knesset seats that Kadima is expected to receive. The surveys published this past Friday show Kadima receiving 40-43 seats, Labor - 17, and the Likud - 13-16.

In the Likud, MK Gideon Saar complained today that the media are over-concentrating on Likud in-fighting, when in fact the real story is the Palestinian Authority's loss of control in Gaza.