Amram Mitzna, the dovish mayor of Haifa who was largely unknown nationally when he announced in August his candidacy for leadership of the Labor Party, sought to develop a united party after wresting control from the more hawkish former Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer in Tuesday's decisive primary.
He immediately announced plans to form a staff that included supporters of Ben-Eliezer, 66, and his other primary opponent, political veteran Haim Ramon, 52. And he offered Ben-Eliezer the No. 2 spot on the Labor Party ticket.
Maj. Aubrey Eban was to give a speech in 1950, and Fabian Schonfeld, a young rabbi who had moved recently to New York City from his native England, made sure he was near a radio.
Mr. Eban, still known by his rank in the wartime British army and his original first name, was Israel’s wunderkind, at 35 ambassador to the United Nations and to the United States.
The future of the once-dominant Labor Party as a major player in Israeli politics is at stake as party voters go to the polls Tuesday to select their candidate in January’s general election.
An internal Labor Party poll placed Haifa Mayor Amram Mitzna ahead of his nearest challenger, former Defense Minister and Labor Party chairman Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, by 18 percent. The third candidate in the race, veteran politician Haim Ramon, trailed Mitzna by 30 percent.
Ariel Sharon the centrist? Hard as that may be for some to imagine, after days of political upheaval in Israel during which he rejected forming a right-wing government, the Israeli prime minister emerged as the statesman between the doves of Labor and the hawks of several nationalist parties. Sharon says he hopes to form another unity government with the Labor Party if he wins re-election in late January.
by Michele Chabin |
Jerusalem — Give up on Oslo and Arafat. That’s what political pundits are saying the Labor Party, the dominant left-of-center force in Israel since its founding in the late 1960s, must do to maintain its political viability after leaving Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s coalition government.
The collapse of Israel’s unity government after 20 months in office is seen as almost certainly paving the way for early elections even if Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon can put together enough support to adopt the 2003 state budget.
A vote of no-confidence is slated to be held Monday and Sharon has reportedly said he would call for new elections on Sunday to stave off such a vote.