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Labor Party purges most doves from its Knesset list (JERUSALEM POST) By GIL HOFFMAN 12/11/02)Source: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/A/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1039503970233 JERUSALEM POST JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
The Labor Party presented a new moderate face on Tuesday, electing a Knesset list that does not give realistic slots to noted doves Yossi Beilin, Yael Dayan, Tsali Reshef, and Yossi Katz.

In Monday´s primary, the party´s 110,000 members elected the right- leaning Matan Vilna´i to the fourth spot on the list, after the first three slots were reserved for party chairman Amram Mitzna and former chairmen Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and Shimon Peres. With Mitzna, Ben- Eliezer, Vilna´i, Ephraim Sneh, and Danny Yatom, Labor members selected five former generals to its top 12.

Beilin blasted Labor members for choosing "a hawkish list that does not reflect the dovish views of its new leader." He met at length with Meretz leader Yossi Sarid and said he would ponder his future in the next couple of days to decide how he can best advance the peace camp ahead of the January 28 election.

Mitzna called upon Beilin to remain in the Labor Party, suggesting that if it wins the election, he could appoint him a minister or a negotiator with the Palestinians.

But Mitzna ruled out Labor Knesset faction chairman Efi Oshaya´s idea of giving Beilin a reserved slot on the list.

"The Labor Party´s leadership team is not limited to MKs," Mitzna told The Jerusalem Post at a Labor meeting at Beit Berl in Kfar Saba. "There are many ways to advance peace from inside the party."

Party secretary-general Ophir Pines-Paz said Beilin fell to 36th on the list because he alienated too many people. "Yossi paid the price for putting himself at the heart of an ideological conflict and distancing himself from the consensus," Pines-Paz said.

Sarid called on Beilin and other Labor doves to join Meretz, which he said is the home for all those who want to end the occupation and settlements. If Beilin heeds Sarid´s call, it is unlikely to result in his being including on the Meretz Knesset list, which must be submitted to the central elections committee by Thursday.

Instead, Beilin would be enlisted to work on behalf of the establishment of a social-democratic front together with Meretz, Labor doves, left-leaning immigrants, and Arabs. Sarid had hoped to form such a bloc before the election, but Beilin stopped the maneuver after Labor deposed Ben-Eliezer from its leadership.

Ben-Eliezer admitted to working actively to prevent Beilin from getting elected to the Knesset, to avenge Beilin´s efforts to remove him from the party chairmanship. Ben-Eliezer ally MK Weizmann Shiri, who threatened to quit if Beilin was elected, said Labor would gain seven mandates by ridding itself of Beilin.

Ben-Eliezer had called on Labor members to elect a centrist list to be able to attract voters from the Likud. After weeks of denying that the his camp was circulating a "hit list," Ben-Eliezer´s aides proudly proclaimed that nearly all the candidates Ben-Eliezer recommended were elected.

The list included Dalia Itzik, Colette Avital, Sneh, Eitan Cabel, Oshaya, Eli Ben-Menahem, Shalom Simhon, Orit Noked, Sofa Landver, and Shiri. The only candidate he supported who was not elected was Azor Mayor Amnon Zach, who lost to MK Avi Yehezkel in the central region.

Mitzna only worked actively on behalf of Oshaya, author Eli Amir, and his longtime aide Itai Gilboa in the race for a slot reserved for a candidate from Haifa. Amir fell to an unrealistic spot, and Mitzna did not succeed in getting Gilboa elected. Mitzna denied that the list was not to his liking and called upon Ben- Eliezer to end factionalism in the party.

But Ben-Eliezer´s aides said he would take advantage of his support over Mitzna in the Knesset faction and the central committee. They said he would test his new power by fighting Mitzna´s efforts to have Labor MKs vote in favor of the state budget in next week´s vote. "Mitzna´s test is 26 mandates," one Ben-Eliezer adviser said. "If he doesn´t succeed, there will be elections for Labor chairman again next year with Ben-Eliezer, Vilna´i, Burg, Ramon, and Mitzna all running."

Avital won a close race over Dayan for the third slot on the Labor list that was reserved for a woman.

Avital will be number 16 on the list, and Dayan sank to 39th, which is not considered realistic. Itzik defeated Yuli Tamir for the top woman´s slot, but Tamir still placed a respectable seventh, despite her dovish reputation. Tamir took pride in calling herself "the only dove who survived."

"They say there was a deal to push back people with dovish views, but it certainly didn´t work with me," she said.

Cabel, who was given a standing ovation at the Kfar Saba event, is another dove who was elected against all odds. He said his survival had more to do with his personality than his opinions.

"This election was personal," Cabel said. "I got in because I have good friends and people like me a heck of a lot."

In addition to Yatom, the new candidates on the list include former cabinet secretary Isaac Herzog in the 10th slot, Ghaleb Mejadla in the Arab sector, and Orna Angel in the Jerusalem region.

Labor´s top 20

1. Amram Mitzna
2. Binyamin Ben-Eliezer
3. Shimon Peres
4. Matan Vilna´i
5. Avraham Burg
6. Dalia Itzik
7. Ophir Pines-Paz
8. Efraim Sneh
9. Yuli Tamir
10. Isaac Herzog
11. Haim Ramon
12. Danny Yatom
13. Eitan Cabel
14. Michael Melchior
15. Avraham Shochat
16. Collette Avital
17. Shalom Simhon
18. Orit Noked
19. Eli Ben-Menahem
20. Ghaleb Mejadla (© 1995-2002, The Jerusalem Post 12/11/02)


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