Amir Peretz
Amir Peretz Miriam Alster/Flash90

Labor MK and former Defense Minister Amir Peretz vowed to turn the Labor party into a viable ideological alternative to the Israeli Right, suggesting alliances with centrist or center-left figures could help draw right-wing voters.

Peretz, a veteran lawmaker who has served in the Knesset for the past 31 years, led the Labor party from November 2005 until he was ousted by former Prime Minister Ehud Barak in June 2007.

Now at age 67, Peretz is running again for control of Labor, a party whose fortunes have declined in recent years. From the 19 seats it won in 2015 as part of the joint Zionist Union ticket, Labor fell to just six seats in this April’s election – the party’s poorest showing in its history.

Some new show the Labor party failing to enter the next Knesset.

On Wednesday, Peretz, who is running in the July 2nd Labor leadership race to replace outgoing chairman Avi Gabbay, told Reshet Bet he would look to form alliances with other parties or public figures in a bid to restore Labor’s electoral strength – and present an alternative to the Israeli Right, which has governed Israel for 15 of the last 18 years.

“When I am elected leader of the party, I will examine every option we have,” said Peretz.

“The only thing I will look at in helping me to make my decision is: what can I do to take two or three seats from the Right. That will be the means for influencing the entire political map.”

Peretz said talks were underway already with the far-left Meretz party, which won four seats in this April’s election, adding that other groups and public figures were also in consideration for an alliance.

“In the situation we’re in we need to strengthen ourselves but also form alliances. I’m in contact with everyone. I met with Tzipi Livni, Amos Yadlin, Yair Golan, and Orly Levy. I got the impression that everyone wants to form a single big camp that can be an ideological alternative to the Right.”