(JTA) — Israel’s main opposition party chose veteran lawmaker Isaac Herzog as its new leader, replacing former chairperson Shelly Yachimovich’s two year stint as chairperson.
The 53-year-old Herzog 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 Yachimovich’s 41 percent, according to Israel Radio. In total, some 28,473 people cast their vote out of 60,392 registered voters within Labor.
The Jerusalem Post quoted Herzog as referring to the threat of war with Iran and the peace talks with the Palestinians in an address Friday, after the final vote count.
“We are facing a historical moment, you can almost feel the ground move,” he said. “Only real steps and peace would allow us to prevail on all fronts, and I highly doubt Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu can see that. This can be Labor’s greatest hour.”
Under Yachimovich, jobs and the economy featured prominently on the party’s agenda, an emphasis some argued came at the expense of the party’s traditional policy of promoting land for peace deals with the Palestinians.
Her attitude to Netanyahu was nonetheless viewed as confrontational.
In national elections this year Yachimovich led the party to a disappointing third-place finish with only 15 seats out of 120 in parliament.