Member of Knesset Isaac Herzog agreed Wednesday to continue in his role as Israeli opposition leader despite his recent loss of the Labor party’s leadership to Avi Gabbay.
Since Gabbay, a former Kulanu party member and a newcomer to Labor, does not currently hold a seat in the Knesset, he cannot serve as opposition leader and was required to choose a sitting lawmaker for the post.
“I have great sorrow, but will help you in any way possible,” Herzog told Gabbay. “I thank you for calling on me to continue serving as the chairman of the opposition.”
Gabbay said, “I am very glad that Isaac is continuing on as opposition chairman.”
Last week, Herzog was unseated as the head of the Labor party, when former Labor leader Amir Peretz and former Kulanu party member Gabbay advanced to a runoff for the party’s leadership.
After finishing a distant third last week, behind Gabbay and Amir Peretz, in the primary election for the Labor leadership, Herzog had said, “The members of the Labor party have spoken. I respect their decision.” Gabbay, a former environmental protection minister, went on to defeat Peretz, a former defense minister, in the final round of the Labor election.
“The campaign to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu starts today,” Gabbay declared after his victory. Yet polls conducted following the party leadership election suggest that the Zionist Union alliance, which includes the Labor and Hatnuah parties, would come in second behind Netanyahu’s Likud in the next Israeli election.