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Yacimovich welcomes 'dream' list
By GIL HOFFMAN
02/12/2012
Herzog voted in 2nd spot on 19th Knesset list followed by Peretz, Cabel; journalist Michaeli, activist Shaffir make it into top 10.
 
Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich expressed satisfaction with the list Labor members elected Thursday, telling party activists at Beit Berl Teachers College after the list was announced Friday that she could not have dreamed of a better slate of candidates.

MK Isaac Herzog, whom Yacimovich supported, won the second slot on the list for the third time in a row. He will be Labor’s top voice on diplomatic issues, which are not Yacimovich’s strong suit.

Herzog bested by a margin of 3,000 votes Yacimovich’s nemesis, MK Amir Peretz, who received the third slot. Peretz’s close ally, MK Eitan Cabel, surprisingly won the fourth slot on the list, which includes several Peretz loyalists.

The fifth slot on the list went to journalist Merav Michaeli, whom Yacimovich considered a liability because of her leftist views. Peace Now secretarygeneral Yariv Oppenheimer, whom she also saw as too leftwing, won the unrealistic 27th slot.

“We have an incredible list,” Yacimovich said in a speech to Labor supporters following the announcement of the primary results. “This list represents all factions of Israeli society. They represent an impressive history of leadership and achievements, together with young people who know how to fight. They have come together to serve the country.”

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Yacimovich asked the public to remember the list the Likud elected Monday and compare it to Labor’s candidates. She slammed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s policies, making a point of mentioning his diplomatic failures led by Thursday’s UN vote on observer status for a Palestinian non-member state before criticizing him on socioeconomic issues and highlighting Thursday’s poverty report.

“We will work for the next 58 days to defeat Netanyahu and Liberman and replace them in power,” Yacimovich said.

Labor’s list features two leaders of the summer 2011 socioeconomic protests, Itzik Shmuli and Stav Shaffir.

Although Shmuli got more votes than Shaffir, she is ninth on the list and he is 12th, because she was advanced to a higher slot reserved for a woman.

Two Kadima MKs received slots in the party’s top 20; Nachman Shai, who will be 15th on the list, and Nino Abesadze, who ran unopposed for the 20th slot that was reserved for an immigrant from the former Soviet Union.

The only current Labor MK who might not be in the next Knesset is Daniel Ben-Simon, who is 22nd on the list.

Noam Schalit, who became a household name when his son Gilad Schalit was kidnapped, won the unrealistic 39th slot on the list, even though he took time off from his senior position at the Iscar company that is owned by billionaire Warren Buffett and campaigned across the country for a year.

Reform Rabbi Gilad Kariv won the unrealistic 28th slot. Eitan Schwartz, who made aliya from New York at age seven and gained fame for winning the first season of reality show The Ambassador, also failed to win a realistic slot.

The Likud called the Labor list “extreme left-wing” and said it “reflects on party leader Yacimovich, who once voted for Hadash.”

Former Kadima head and leader of The Tzipi Livni Party, Tzipi Livni, congratulated Labor, but lamented the fact that “Labor with Yacimovich at its head has abandoned the diplomatic issue and turned left on social issues.”

Meretz also congratulated Labor, saying the party is now tasked with “an impossible mission, to prevent their chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich from entering a coalition with Netanyahu.”

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid said Labor’s list “is worthy of a left-wing party that combines new faces with long-standing experienced people.”

“The political map is becoming clear. Likud Beytenu is in the distinct Right, the Labor is in the distinct Left and at the Center of the political map – Yesh Atid,” Lapid said.

Yaara Shalom and Gabriella Weiniger contributed to this report.
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