(JNS.org) Israeli opposition leader Member of Knesset Isaac Herzog was unseated as the head of the Labor party, while two other lawmakers advanced to a runoff for the party’s leadership.
After polls closed Tuesday, former Labor leader Amir Peretz had garnered 32 percent of the vote, followed by former Kulanu party member Avi Gabbay’s 27 percent. Herzog, the party’s leader since 2013, received about 17 percent. Gabbay is Israel’s former environmental protection minister, and Peretz is a former defense minister.
Herzog was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s top challenger in Israel’s March 2015 election, when Labor teamed with Tzipi Livni’s Hatnuah party to form the Zionist Union alliance.
Since no candidate emerged with 40 percent of the vote needed to become Labor’s new leader, Peretz and Gabbay advanced to a runoff July 10.
“The members of the Labor party have spoken. I respect their decision,” Herzog said.
Peretz said, “I am proud of my accomplishment and am convinced I will win in the second round, after which we will replace Netanyahu.”
Gabbay promised to create a Labor-led governing coalition and said he would not join a unity government with Netanyahu.