Despite calling the results of Tuesday’s national elections, which gave the Labor Party an unprecedented low number of six seats, a “huge disappointment,” Labor Party chairman Avi Gabbay is not resigning.
“All our warnings in the past few days—that Prime Minister Netanyahu could stay in power—came to pass,” said Gabbay.
“Nevertheless, good things for the party have happened these past few months. It made it clearer who and what we are. All day [Tuesday], I went around and met with countless voters, many of whom told me plainly that they had opted to vote Blue and White,” he said.
Given Labor’s dismal performance, a number of party officials have called on Gabbay to step down as leader immediately.
Knesset member Eitan Cabel, who took the No. 15 slot on the Labor list in the party primaries, attacked Gabbay in an interview to Channel 13, saying, “I hope Gabbay resigns tonight.”
Later, Cabel tweeted: “Tonight is the worst night in the history of my [political] home. The Labor Party—the movement that founded the state—crashed in all the initial projections and got the worst result in its history. Gabbay kept his promise and brought the roof down on us; the failure is down to him and him alone. He no longer has any mandate to lead the party and should resign tonight.”
Former GOC Southern Command Tal Russo, No. 2 on the Labor list, told Israel Hayom: “We were rising significantly and felt that Blue and White was taking votes away from us. The truth won. We didn’t campaign against Blue and White because we’re on the same side.
“This is the result of Blue and White’s scare campaign,” he continued. “I’m disappointed, but we need to let the dust settle and not cut anyone’s head off. I’m sorry for those who won’t be part of our team [in the Knesset], because they’re quite a bit above the others.”
The last election in which Labor ran as an independent party was in 2013, when the party scored 15 seats. In 2015, Labor ran together with Hatnua as the Zionist Union, which won 24 seats, but remained in the opposition in the 20th Knesset.