Labor chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich is in talks with several well-known people in
defense and other areas, in order to convince them to run for the next Knesset
with the party, Labor officials close to Yacimovich said on
Yacimovich is looking for a top defense figure to bolster the
party’s ranks ahead of the expected February election – but pickings are slim,
as the mandated cooling-off period has not yet ended for many possible
Other than MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, a former defense minister
and brigadier-general who is 76 years old, Labor does not have any MKs or
announced candidates with serious security credentials.
including Yacimovich’s chief of staff Ofer Cornfeld, himself a potential MK,
said on Thursday that Yacimovich was in talks with several well-known people in
defense and other areas, in order to convince them to run in the party primary.
However, none would confirm or deny specific names.
Home Front Defense
Minister Avi Dichter on Saturday night denied an Israel HaYom report that
Yacimovich asked him to join Labor, and Yacimovich’s office would not
Dichter, a former public security minister and Shin Bet (Israel
Security Agency) director, quit Kadima and the Knesset in August to became a
If Yacimovich is looking for someone who served in a senior
security position more recently, it is unclear whom she could pick, because
legally, he would have to wait three years after he finished his tenure in that
Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan’s and former Shin Bet head Yuval
Diskin’s cooling-off periods end in 2014.
Former IDF chief of staff Lt.-
Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi cannot run for a political position until February
2013, and Brig.- Gen. (res.) Michael Herzog, son of former president Chaim
Herzog and brother of Labor MK Isaac Herzog, has to wait until August 2013.
Former Military Intelligence chief Maj.- Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin’s cooling- off
period ends in November 2013.
A Labor MK confirmed on Friday that
Yacimovich was courting Stav Shafir, a leader of the 2011 social
Yacimovich is also rumored to be trying to recruit National
Union of Israeli Students chairman Itzik Shmuly, who was instrumental in leading
the 2011 social protests, as well as Orly Vilnai and Guy Meroz, married morning
show hosts, who focus on social issues.
Labor currently has eight seats
in the Knesset, and is polling at 21-22. As such, it will have plenty of spots
for newcomers to fill in its next primary.
The candidates slots for
kibbutzim and moshavim are empty, as they were filled by Agriculture Minister
Orit Noked and Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Shalom Simhon, respectively,
who left Labor when Defense Minister Ehud Barak formed the Independence
However, Cornfeld pointed out, the committee that decides how the
list for the next Knesset will be formed has yet to meet, and as such, all
options are still open.
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