Labor membership drive adds thousands

Dancer joins Labor race ahead of deadline.

June 27, 2019 05:46
1 minute read.
Labor party

Labor party election advertisement in Tel Aviv, April 2019. (photo credit: BEN BRESKY)

The number of Labor Party members eligible to vote in Tuesday’s leadership race will be 65,337, a party spokesman announced on Wednesday morning, following an expedited membership drive. Over the past month, some 4,200 people joined the party.

The deadline to join the race concluded on Tuesday just after dancer and dance instructor David Landesman entered, joining MKs Amir Peretz, Itzik Shmuli and Stav Shaffir. Landesman ran for Knesset with Labor in the April 9 election. He was 44th on the list, which won six seats. The candidates will hold a debate on Friday morning at Tel Aviv’s Kibbutzim Seminar.

Peretz received key endorsements from Histadrut Labor Federation chairman Arnon Ben-David, Kibbutz Movement representative Gavri Bar-Gil, and former MKs Eitan Cabel, Ophir Paz-Pines and Merav Michaeli. “If Amir does not win the race, Labor will not cross the electoral threshold,” Cabel warned on Twitter.

Shmuli, who was endorsed by former MK Michal Biran, presented a new Gal Hadash poll on Tuesday that found that he would lead Labor to 12 seats in the September 17 election, twice as many as were won in April by outgoing Labor chairman Avi Gabbay.

Shaffir claimed that all 4,200 people who joined the party did so in order to support her, and that in the past week more than 1,400 people contributed to her campaign. She released a new campaign video listing her accomplishments fighting corruption during her six years in the Knesset and two years as a socioeconomic activist prior. “My eight years fighting for you taught me you don’t win by being nice,” Shaffir wrote her supporters on Twitter.

The winner will be announced on Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. at Tel Aviv University.

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