Israeli Labor party chooses another leader

I was pleased a couple of years ago when members of the Israeli Labor party selected Shelly Yachimovich as their new leader.

I’ve long believed one of the weaknesses of the Israeli Left is that it has focused on issues of peace and security at the expense of the country’s huge and growing socioeconomic disparities. And Yachimovich promised to emphasize what had become secondary concerns.

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, this new emphasis failed to attract many new voters while alienating a lot of Labor’s traditional supporters. And so Labor won only 15 seats in January’s Knesset elections, trailing far behind Likud and falling behind Yair Lapid’s new Yesh Atid party.

Was this due to Yachimovich’s failures as a leader? Did she go too far from one extreme to the other? Or was it simply that Israeli voters weren’t buying what she was selling? Probably a combination.

Anyway, she has paid the political price and been defeated for leader in Thursday’s Labor primaries by MK Isaac Herzog, the son of former Israeli UN ambassador and president Chaim Herzog.

According to David Landau of Haaretz:

Herzog’s campaign for the party leadership focused, in essence, on Labor’s peace policy and specifically on chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich’s dogged refusal to put the peace and occupation issue front-and-center on Labor’s election platform, in its daily program and in her own functioning as leader of the opposition.

I hope Herzog strikes a reasonable balance between social and economic justice and peace and security, and doesn’t swing too far in the opposite direction from Yachimovich.

Do our Israeli readers have any thoughts?