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Israel’s Labor Party Splits Again

Knesset member Eitan Cabel  says Labor Party leader Shelly Yachimovich must go.
Eitan Cabel, an Israeli minister without portfolio and member of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's cabinet, holds a news conference in Tel Aviv May 1, 2007.  Cabel announced he was stepping down on Tuesday, opening the first crack in Israel's government after the prime minister vowed to ride out a scathing reprimand by an inquiry into last year's costly Lebanon war.   REUTERS/Gil Cohen Magen (ISRAEL) - RTR1P7RE
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I met Knesset member Eitan Cabel in the makeup room of one of the television stations just a few weeks before the elections [in January 2013]. We had just participated in yet another political debate, one of many on the air back then. The polls gave the Labor Party 21 seats, and it was expected to be the second largest party, right behind Likud-Beiteinu. In the studio, Cabel was a staunch defender of Labor Party Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich and expressed confidence in her ability to defeat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But then, in a candid moment on our way back to our cars, he estimated that the Labor Party would end up with just 14 or 15 seats.

Cabel added that he had no idea what was going on inside the party or what its campaign strategy was. He said that Yachimovich pigeonholed all the Knesset members, that she refused to take any criticism, and that she was convinced that if she avoided mentioning the diplomatic issue, Likud party supporters would switch to her. “It won’t happen,” Cabel said. “I wish I were wrong, but this is not how you win an election.” He then begged me not to write a word about what he had just told me.

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