Histadrut chief Eini starts reelection bid

Thousands of supporters crowded a cavernous events hall in Tel Aviv to kick of Eini's campaign.

By
March 29, 2012 02:36
1 minute read.
Histadrut chair Ofer Eini at Labor Court

Histadrut chair Ofer Eini at Labor Court_311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Thousands of supporters crowded a cavernous events hall in Tel Aviv on Wednesday to see Histadrut labor federation Chairman Ofer Eini kick off his reelection bid.

The event was a show of force of sorts for Eini, and had the atmosphere of a soccer match, with the disproportionately male supporters breaking into applause and chants of “Ofer Eini, Ofer Eini!” intermittently as speakers filed on and off the stage. Eini’s campaign slogan – “leadership with responsibility” – was plastered on posters and banners throughout the hall.

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Eini faces a challenge in the May 22 elections from Labor Party MK Eitan Cabel, who has secured the support of former Histadrut head and defense minister Amir Peretz, as well as the Meretz and Hadash parties, and Histadrut activists who broke off from the Likud party.

Moments before Eini began his speech, chairman of the Israel Railways workers’ union Gila Edrei took to the stage to thank Eini, saying “I don’t need an introduction, I’ve caused enough trouble,” before expressing her gratefulness that the union has “a responsible father [Eini] who knows how to protect us from all those who wish to do us harm.”

Edrei’s show of gratitude came the day after Eini helped end a labor grievance between Edrei’s union and the Israel Railways management, by securing, among other conditions, a 25% salary increase and a one-time payment of NIS 40,000 for each worker.

Eini also spoke of the strike he called earlier this year on behalf of contract laborers, and vowed that he would fight Defense Ministry plans to stop ordering the “Merkava” battle tanks, saying that he would do “all that I can in my power” to nix such plans, citing the 10,000 workers whose jobs he said would be in jeopardy if the tank goes out of construction.


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