Cabel: Eini runs the Histadrut like a mafia kingpin

MK says if the Histadrut does not change, “in another 20 years there will be no organized labor movement.”

April 16, 2012 20:29
2 minute read.
Histadrut chair Ofer Eini at Labor Court

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


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Chairman Ofer Eini runs the Histadrut like a mafia kingpin, MK Eitan Cabel (Labor) said on Monday, launching his campaign to lead the labor union.

Cabel presented “The Social Home,” his new party in the Histadrut labor federation elections, at a press conference in Tel Aviv, saying that if Eini continues as chairman, there will no longer be an organized labor union in Israel.

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“Eini has a reign of terror and threats, and we will break it. Every country has its own Tahrir Square,” the MK said. “He forces people to tell him he’s their king, like in North Korea or Syria.”

According to the Labor MK, Eini turned the Histadrut into a “Byzantine court” by appointing his wife and brother to key jobs and became “part of the system” by cooperating with a “destructive, capitalist” government.

MKs Avi Duan (Kadima) and Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) attended the press conference, showing their support for The Social Home, which has the backing of Kadima, Meretz and Hadash. Labor, Cabel’s party, has endorsed Eini, and threatened last month to punish Cabel should he pursue the Histadrut leadership.

Cabel accused Eini of betraying workers and favoring tycoons, employers and the Finance Ministry.

“The Histadrut is meant to be a protective wall around workers, not a place where they are seen as a production line without a soul,” Cabel said. “The Histadrut has become old and worn out.”

Cabel and Tamar Zandberg, a Tel Aviv councilwoman and The Social Home’s candidate to lead the Na’amat women’s organization, both criticized Eini for not taking part in last summer’s social protests.

According to Zandberg, Eini disappeared at the most important moment for a social organization, and Cabel’s campaign is the first political expression of the protests.

“This race is David versus Goliath,” Zandberg quipped. “We’re smaller, but we’re right and we’ll win.”

Eini’s campaign responded to Cabel later Monday, saying that hundreds of thousands of new workers have joined the Histadrut since he became chairman.

According to Eini’s campaign, Cabel’s “only experience in labor issues is canceling Labor Party workers’ collective agreement when he served as the party’s secretary-general, and has not passed one bill for workers in all his years in the Knesset or led any kind of public campaign for workers.”

In light of these factors, Cabel should not “preach, curse, slander or defame,” Eini’s camp added. “Cabel should realize that the Histadrut leadership is not just another political job.”

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