Peace Now secretary-general and spokesman Yariv Oppenheimer, the man most identified with the organization in Israel, is leaving his job and slamming the door behind him, according to a Friday report in Makor Rishon. Oppenheimer will be replaced by former IDF lieutenant Avi Buskila, a leftwing and LGBT activist.
Oppenheimer joined Peace Now some 15 years ago, first as spokesman and then as CEO. Six months ago, the group and Oppenheimer announced that he would end his administrative role as CEO, take on the secretary-general role and concentrate on the political and media aspects of the group’s activity.
But, according to Makor Rishon, following the decision to replace him with Buskila as CEO Oppenheimer announced he would leave his new position in protest. Buskila stayed and Oppenheimer left his home of many years in a huff.
On the Peace Now website, Oppenheimer is still listed as secretary-general. He told Makor Rishon that the group has been seeking a CEO for a year now, “because of my desire to leave and turn to new challenges professionally, after 14 years of employment by the association. I responded positively to the request of movement members to serve on the board of management. Avi Buskila will start serving as the CEO during April, after an overlap.”
Over the past few years, Peace Now has lost its leading role among leftwing organizations and most of its media exposure came from statements by Oppenheimer.
According to a US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks, in 2006 Oppenheimer urged the US to pressure Israel into evacuating Jewish outposts in Judea and Samaria. Oppenheimer was quoted as saying that Israel might “evacuate a few outposts to show the US that it is doing something, but in exchange it is trying to co-opt the settlers by retroactively approving some outposts and giving them a freer hand in building in the West Bank.”