Yachimovich ousted as head of Israeli Labor party, Isaac Herzog wins

(JTA) — Israeli Labor party leader Shelly Yachimovich lost primary elections for the party leadership to Isaac Herzog.

The 53-year-old Herzog, a veteran lawmaker, is a former Cabinet minister and high-profile lawyer, and the son of former Israeli President Chaim Herzog.

He won 58 percent of the vote in the leadership primary compared to 41 percent for Yachimovich, who led the party for two years. In total, some 28,473 people cast their vote out of 60,392 registered voters within Labor.

“We are facing a historical moment, you can almost feel the ground move,” Herzog said in a speech Friday, referring to Iran and peace talks with the Palestinians, according to the Jerusalem Post. “Only real steps and peace would allow us to prevail on all fronts, and I highly doubt Prime Minister Netanyahu can see that. This can be Labor’s greatest hour.”

Under Yachimovich, jobs and the economy featured prominently on the agenda of Labor, Israel’s main opposition party. Some argued that that emphasis came at the expense of the party’s promotion of peace deals with the Palestinians.

In national elections in January, Yachimovich led the party to a disappointing third-place finish, with only 15 seats out of 120 in parliament.

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