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