Labor Party members go to polls for primary

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Members of Israel’s Labor Party are going to the polls to elect a party Knesset list.

Thursday’s primary come ahead of the Jan. 22 national elections.

The primary will not be completely computerized. Labor was supposed to employ the same format used last week by the Likud Party, but after seeing the malfunctions that led to a second day of Likud voting, Labor decided to have manual ballots and tabulate them with computers.

Labor head Shelly Yacimovich said in an interview Wednesday with Army Radio that she was concerned that her party’s list, which likely will be revealed Friday in the early morning hours, would lean too far to the left as she tries to place Labor as a centrist party. Her concern mirrors is similar to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose Likud list is stacked with party leaders who lean further to the right than he wanted.

Among those vying for the top spot in Labor are former Defense Minister Amir Peretz and lawmaker Isaac Herzog.

Other notable politicians running for spots on the list include Stav Shafir, a leader of the 2011 social protest movement; Noam Shalit, the father of released Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit; Peace Now head Yariv Openheimer; and journalist Merav Michaeli.

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