The Labor Party has not had a kippa-wearer in the Knesset since former
parliament speaker Avraham Burg. But that could change if Chili Tropper
gets his way.
Tropper, 34, from the Jerusalem suburb of Ness Harim,
announced this week that he intends to run in the November 27 Labor
He joined Labor to help chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich’s election
campaign and promote her socioeconomic agenda.
The principal of a school
in Ramle for drop-outs, he helped found the Shachen Tov (good neighbor)
association and Bema’aglei Tzedek, an organization that merges social activism
with education in an effort to fix social ills.
“We in Labor are trying
to break traditional dividing lines of Right and Left and religious and secular
that are no longer relevant,” Tropper said. “Socioeconomic issues and education
are what matters.
When I tell other religious Zionists what party I am
in, they are surprised, but they understand that it’s not the same Labor. Some
people are cynical, but I don’t care.”
While Tropper has never been a
member of a political party before, his father, Rabbi Danny Tropper, heads the
election committee of Habayit Hayehudi and has been active for years in the
National Religious Party and Meimad.
Danny Tropper made aliya from New
York in 1968 with his wife, Faygie, who is from Los Angeles. Chili still has
grandparents and many family members in the United States.
If elected to
the Knesset, Chili Tropper would have to give up his American
He said that if he won a slot on the Labor list, he would
campaign among immigrants from Englishspeaking countries.
He added that
while his father did not identify with Labor, he was proud that his son had
decided to try and make an impact on Israeli society.
When asked about
his son’s run, the elder Tropper said, “Chili was once known as Danny Tropper’s
son, but now I am glad to be known as Chili Tropper’s father.”