Labor chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich welcomed educator Chili Tropper and former Sayeret Matkal (General Staff Reconnaissance Unit) commander Omer Bar-Lev to the party’s ranks on Wednesday.

Bar-Lev, 59, is the son of former IDF chief of staff Haim Bar- Lev. He is the director-general of Paieon Medical, a cardiac imaging company, and founder of Aharai, an NGO that teaches leadership skills to underprivileged youth.

Tropper, 34, is the principal of a school for drop-outs in Ramle, a founder of Bema’aglei Tzedek, an organization merging social activism with education, and former deputy director-general of Aharai. He is the son of Rabbi Danny Tropper, who heads Habayit Hayehudi’s election committee and made aliya from New York in 1968.

If elected to the Knesset, Tropper would have to give up his American citizenship, and would be the first national-religious Labor MK since Avraham Burg left politics in 2004.

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“I and other good people have joined to help [Yacimovich] make a dramatic change in the country,” Bar-Lev said before a meeting with the party leader. “Chili and I have worked together in Aharai for a long time to unite all of Israeli society.”

Bar-Lev emphasized the importance of social activists entering politics, commending Labor for putting issues such as equal opportunity and education for all at the top of its agenda.

“Labor has become the home for anyone who cares about social issues, education and morals,” Tropper said. “The connections here will help build our society, making it better for everyone who lives here.”

Yacimovich pointed out that Tropper is the youngest high school principal in Israel, saying he has “incredible leadership abilities” and shares her values.

“I metaphorically shake his hand, because he is religious,” Yacimovich quipped.

The Labor leader said Bar- Lev’s family has a long history with the party, and that he is a worthy addition to the list who will surely be an important part of the 19th Knesset.

“As everyone knows, the race is not simple,” Yacimovich warned, “because we are a democratic party with many candidates. I wish you luck.”

Also on Wednesday, Oren Pasternak, 27, one of the leaders of the 2011 social protests, announced that he is joining the Labor race, saying his goal is to bring the demonstrators’ values to the Knesset.

“I hope to lead many young people throughout Israel to politics, with a goal to change the existing realities and turn the country into a real welfare state,” Pasternak said.

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