Rabat - Moroccan-Israeli Abi Gabbay has become leader of Israel’s Labor Party in an election turn around, attaining 52.4 percent of party members’ votes.
Rabat – Moroccan-Israeli Abi Gabbay has become leader of Israel’s Labor Party in an election turn around, attaining 52.4 percent of party members’ votes.
In the second round of election son Monday, former Kulanu minister Gabbay obtained 16,080 votes, defeating fellow Moroccan Israeli Amir Peretz, who received 14,734 votes (47.6 percent).
During the first round of elections on July 4, 2005-07 Labor leader Peretz came first, gaining 32 percent (10,141) of the total votes, while Gabbay came second, receiving 27 percent (8,395). Current Labor leader Isaac Herzog lost his position as leader, and candidates Erel Margalit and Omer Barlev also lost their places in the round.
On Tuesday, a day after his win at the final round of elections, former minister in the Benjamin Netanyahu government Gabbay announced his intentions to “replace Netanyahu and win the 30 Knesset seats needed.” He continued that both he and the party would “learn our lessons in order to prepare ourselves for the next battle and next war to wrap up all we have created and bring it to the contest against Likud and Netanyahu.”
It was reported that immediately following his win, Gabbay phoned runner-up Peretz, Minister of Defence during the 2006 Lebanon war, telling him he was a “central partner in our mission, replacing the Netanyahu government.” Peretz is seen as an experienced politician, having succeeded once out of the three times he ran for Labor party leadership.
Gabbay’s family comes from Casablanca, while Peretz moved with his family from Boujad in Khouribga province when Morocco gained independence in 1956. Peretz’s father was head of the city’s Jewish community.
Gabbay was the 2015-16 Minister of Environmental Protection under Netanyahu’s government but quit in May 2016, citing coalition talks that brought the Yisrael Beytenu party into the government. Formerly CEO of Bezeq, he has never been appointed to the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, and many see his limited political experience as a disadvantage. The 50-year-old, however, has claimed that he has many supporters, something evidenced by his surge of supporters in the second round of elections and a jump in his party’s popularity after he was named leader.
Gabbay will lead the party in their bid to replace Netanyahu’s Likud-led government in national elections, which will take place by November 5, 2019 at the latest.