TEL AVIV (Jun. 21)
The Labor Party suffered another political setback Tuesday, when it lost the chairmanship of the union of town councils to the Likud bloc.
Labor had controlled it for decades.
The Likud candidate, Maxim Levy, who is mayor of Lod, overcame his Labor rival, Meir Nitzan, who is mayor of Rishon le-Zion, by a vote of 92-75.
Eli Landau, the Likud mayor of Herzliya, beat Labor’s Eli de Castro for the position of chairman of the union.
But he announced magnanimously that he would step aside in favor of Labor, in order to ensure a truly national council to run local government affairs.
Labor had counted on Druse and Arab townships, but was deeply disappointed.
Its latest defeat, following loss of the municipal elections earlier this year and last year’s Knesset elections, has placed the party’s future in doubt.
It is expected to have a tough fight to retain control of Histadrut, the massive trade union federation and the most powerful national institution outside the government.
The Histadrut elections will be held at the end of the year. At stake is control of not only the country’s labor unions but also the Kupat Holim health care agency and the industrial and cooperative enterprises owned by Histadrut.
The Labor Party and its predecessors have dominated Histadrut since long before the state was founded, and at this juncture, Labor is still considered likely to win.
But Likud is expected to wage a tough campaign. Should Labor lose control of that bastion of power, its future would be bleak.