Picture of Benny Gantz and Histadrut Labor Union chairman Avi Nissenkorn.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz made a key appointment on Monday, when he announced that his 35-MK faction in the Knesset would be chaired by former Histadrut Labor Federation chairman Avi Nissenkorn.
Nissenkorn will coordinate the parliamentary work of the opposition and its efforts to bring down Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
He will be assisted by veteran Yesh Atid MK Meir Cohen and incoming MK Zvi Hauser, who is a former cabinet secretary who was brought into politics by former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon.
“I am convinced that Avi’s past acquaintance with the institutions of the Knesset and his cooperation with the veteran members among us will enable us to be successful,” Gantz said. “We wish Avi and his colleagues in the faction’s leadership that their work will be fruitful.”
Nissenkorn led many battles as the head of the Histadrut, which could put him in a good position to face off against the likely heads of the Likud faction and coalition, MKs David Bitan and David Amsalem.
“He is an excellent negotiator, who can use his skills negotiating on behalf of Blue and White and the opposition,” a source in Blue and White said. “He is clearly the right man for the job.”
Other candidates who had been rumored to receive the post were outgoing Yesh Atid faction chairman Ofer Shelah and incoming MK Chili Tropper. Shelah is very close to Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and Tropper is very close to Gantz.
Nissenkorn is not too close to either Gantz or Lapid, which could enable him to navigate between the two. There was concern that if he was not given an active role, he could decide to leave the Knesset. It would have been a blow to Blue and White to lose such a high profile recruit.
During the campaign, Nissenkorn was not given a high-profile role, because his policies in the union were not popular among the general public. The Likud repeatedly warned the public that if Blue and White formed the government, Nissenkorn would be the finance minister.
There is an expected battle in Blue and White over the chairmanship over key Knesset committees and membership in the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Ilanit Chernick contributed to this report.
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