Israel’s once-dominant Labor Party goes to the polls Tuesday to pick a leader to try to dislodge Benjamin Netanyahu, the country’s second-longest-serving prime minister. First it had to make sure voters didn’t defect to see a concert instead.
Desperate to lift turnout among younger members, Labor’s elections committee postponed the primary by 24 hours to avoid a conflict with the American singer, Britney Spears, who drew 50,000 fans to a July 3 concert at Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park.
“In a beauty contest between a bunch of shouting men and Britney, at least Labor is in touch enough to know what their voters might prioritize,” said Dahlia Scheindlin, a Tel Aviv-based public opinion consultant.
Labor’s biggest challenge is irrelevancy. Its roots stretch back well before Israel’s founding in 1948 and the party produced the first five prime ministers. The last Labor premier was Ehud Barak, who served less than two years and was unseated in 2001. The party’s current chairman, Isaac Herzog — whom Netanyahu clobbered in the 2015 election — is routinely eclipsed by more charismatic leaders of other opposition parties.
(c) 2017, Bloomberg · Jonathan Ferziger