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Battle over Israel’s Labor leadership kicks off

Former Defense Minister Amir Peretz is by no means a new face in the Labor Party, but his integrity could help him win the party’s leadership.

The Dec. 19 press conference announcement of Knesset member Amir Peretz's candidacy to head the Labor Party was expected. His sharp barbs about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leading Israeli society in a discourse of division and hate that could cause civil war were also familiar. The same can be said of his promise that as Labor's leader, he will bring about a “healing of the divisions” and as a prime minister promote a “policy of social justice while striving for a diplomatic agreement and peace.”

Although everything Peretz said was expected and familiar, the former defense minister nonetheless succeeded in piquing interest and bringing some relevance to a party that has been fading since the March 2015 elections and whose voters are abandoning its sinking ship at a worrying pace. The primary reasons for the interest in Peretz are that despite the desperate state of the party, there is still someone interested in heading its struggling platform, and that Peretz is the first to formally announce that he is entering the race. In addition, in May, Netanyahu’s fourth government will mark two years in power, a point in the political cycle that naturally turns attention to the next election and generates political hysteria. 

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