(photo credit: REUTERS)
Zionist Union MK Erel Margalit resigned on Tuesday after five years as a lawmaker and losing two Labor leadership primaries.
Margalit will likely be best remembered for the video launching his campaign for this year’s Labor leadership race, in which he used curse words to punctuate his statements about how angered he is by the direction in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is leading the country.
“Give us back our country, damn it!” Margalit famously exclaimed.
Margalit, who is Israel’s second-richest politician, with a net worth of NIS 220 million according to Forbes Israel, plans to return to his position as the chairman of Jerusalem Venture Partners and to serve as chairman of “In the Community,” an organization helping at-risk youth.
“In order for me to continue to act as a social entrepreneur, and for us to use all the necessary means, resources and space, I decided to resign from my position as an MK,” Margalit wrote on Facebook. “The best way for me to turn the agenda that I have led into reality on the ground is to use my public experience and my entrepreneurial experience into a national-level social initiative: economic development for entire areas [in the periphery], but also expanding the activities of ‘In the Community’ to additional neighborhoods and creating a new reality for thousands of children in Israel.”
Labor Party chairman Avi Gabbay said he was sorry to see Margalit go and praised him for deciding to work on developing the periphery.
Yokne’am Deputy Mayor Lea Fadida will replace Margalit in the Knesset, bringing the number of female MKs to 34 (28%), a record high.
Earlier this week, Zionist Union MK Manuel Trajtenberg resigned from the Knesset, and was replaced by the party’s Druse representative Saleh Saad, which broke a different Knesset record, bringing the number of non-Jewish lawmakers to 18.