Labor chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich has been working to block primary candidate
Merav Michaeli from running, according to the latter.
Michaeli, a Haaretz
columnist known for her left-wing and feminist opinions as well as her social
activism, announced last week that she is running in the November 29 Labor
Unlike for many other celebrity candidates in the party,
Yacimovich did not hold a joint press conference or photo-op with her following
In addition, Michaeli has expressed concern that
Yacimovich will single her out and not approve her candidacy, because she has
been a party member for less than the requisite six months, even though
Yacimovich made exceptions for former National Union of Israeli Students
chairman Itzik Shmuly, journalist Miki Rosenthal and social protest leader Stav
A party source pointed to Yacimovich’s coldness toward Michaeli
and former Peace Now secretary-general Yariv Oppenheimer, saying it is because
they are further to the Left than she has been positioning
Yacimovich’s campaign calls Labor a “Center-Left party” and has
repeatedly said it wants to “move past typical Right and Left politics” and to
focus on the economy.
In interviews with various news outlets, Michaeli
said that in the days before she made her candidacy public, she tried to call
Yacimovich. The two women are acquaintances, as the Labor chairwoman is also a
former journalist, but Yacimovich screened all of Michaeli’s calls, she
Michaeli said she continued to call and SMS Yacimovich for five
days, and then called Labor faction leader Isaac Herzog to notify him of her
Soon after, Michaeli received a call from Yacimovich, who
greeted her by saying, “Hi Honey.”
The rest of the conversation was not
as sweet, according to the Haaretz columnist.
Michaeli said Yacimovich
was brusque and said it was “not critical” for them to meet.
Labor strategist Shalom Kital called Michaeli to discourage her from
She said Kital told her he is not sure Yacimovich will approve
her candidacy, because there are too many journalists running in Labor, and the
candidates list is insufficiently varied.
Michaeli responded that she is
running as a feminist and social activist.
Later that day, Michaeli
attended the Labor central committee meeting, and party activists and MKs
greeted her warmly.
The feminist activist also sent Yacimovich a letter
asking her to approve shortening the minimum membership time to allow her to run
in the primary, but the Labor leader has yet to answer.
would not directly respond to questions about Michaeli, saying only: “Due to the
Labor Party’s great success, many candidates who are not party members have
asked to join us and run.
The party’s constitution says that a candidate
must be a member for six months by Election Day. Candidacy in the primary by
someone who does not meet this requirement must be approved by the party
secretariat. Every case will be judged individually and according to the good of
the Labor Party.”