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Photo by: Lahav Harkov
Labor event targets voters in Tel Aviv mall
By LAHAV HARKOV
01/15/2013
Party goes after Dizengoff Center shoppers in "pop-up shop" event; Yacimovich answers party information hotline: "We are the only party fighting the Netanyahu government."
 
Labor worked overtime on getting its representatives to speak directly to voters on Monday, with MKs manning the party’s information line and setting up a “pop-up shop” in Tel Aviv.

At 5 on Monday afternoon, workers appeared in the Dizengoff Center mall in Tel Aviv, quickly setting up a stage for speeches by Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich and candidate Stav Shaffir that was set to be dismantled immediately after.

Yacimovich arrived in a flurry of confetti launched by activists on the mall’s upper levels.

“Come help us, because things here can be better,” she declared, grinning. “If you went shopping today and noticed prices went up – things can be better for you.”

The Labor leader also specifically pointed to single mothers as people her party would help, perhaps in light of recent polls showing a significantly larger number of women than men are undecided about their vote.

According to Yacimovich, “If we divide the deficit between the 2 million families in Israel, each will have to pay NIS 18,000. We say no, we won’t take the bill. Not from the middle class and the poor. It must be taken from places that are never touched, like Israel Chemicals.”

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Yacimovich also called for the shoppers watching to vote and take control of their own lives, as dozens of Labor activists cheered. “Don’t waste your vote on parties that won’t pass the election threshold [2 percent] or trendy parties that will join [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu’s government,” she added.

The brief campaign event was modeled after the concept of a “pop-up shop,” in which designers use a space for days or weeks to sell a limited edition collection.

Passersby in the mall seemed to be charmed by Yacimovich’s sudden appearance, with even Likud voters saying they enjoyed it.

Peretz Aloush, 82 and from Netanya, said he is “a Likud supporter, but Yacimovich is nice. She doesn’t curse Netanyahu, so I respect her. I wish her success.”

“Everything is happening on the Internet, so the street isn’t as stormy [in election time] as it was in the time of [former prime minister Menachem] Begin,” Aloush added.

"This was so exciting!” said Zohar Ackerman, 41 and from Tel Aviv, holding a baby. “I was considering voting for Labor, and this will certainly help me decide. I liked that she talked about working women juggling a career and children. I’m a single mother, so I know how hard it is.”

An elderly woman, who is a retired Knesset stenographer and as such said she cannot give her political opinion, said she found the event to be “very nice, original and spontaneous,” adding that she hopes elections will bring a change.

Earlier Monday, Yacimovich and MKs Isaac Herzog, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and Daniel Ben-Simon answered calls on an information hotline set up by the party and advertised on billboards around the country.

The Labor MKs, as well as candidates Nadia Hilu and Itzik Shmuli, responded to questions about the party’s platform and economic plans.

Yacimovich spoke to 16 voters, seven of whom told her they are voting for Labor.

The Labor leader told Yesh Atid and The Tzipi Livni Party supporters that “[Yesh Atid leader Yair] Lapid and [Tzipi] Livni are in Netanyahu’s pocket and only gave minimal conditions for joining her condition.”

“Do you want to replace Netanyahu?” she asked voters. “We are the second biggest party and the only one that wants, can and is fighting to replace the Netanyahu government.”

Yacimovich expressed confidence that she convinced all of those debating between Yesh Atid and Labor to vote for the latter.

“This is another step in the party’s effort to convince undecided voters to choose Labor,” a party spokesman explained. “We hope to reach 25 seats and have Yacimovich put together the next government.”
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