(photo credit: REUTERS)
With the Labor Party leadership election coming up on July 4, Israeli voters are fortunate: All five candidates for the chairman position – and our next prime minister candidate – are hands-down better than the government’s current leader.
But one candidate – Labor MK Erel Margalit – stands above them all.
First elected to the Knesset in 2013, Margalit brings his entrepreneurial spirit and acumen to governing while never losing sight of the Labor Party’s Zionist roots.
He made the transition from businessman to legislator, and despite being in the opposition he has been able to spearhead numerous successful initiatives.
These include his Seven Regions of Excellence project to attract investment, generate jobs and bring growth to marginalized areas of the country, something he began as an entrepreneur and venture capitalist. As chairman of the Knesset’s Economic Development Taskforce, for example, he was instrumental in creating an alliance between Tal-Hai College in the North and Rutgers University in New Jersey, focused on the development of foods that promote health or prevent disease.
Margalit is not afraid to stand up for what’s right. He declined a senior position in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government coalition, preferring to speak from the opposition. Early this year, he was perhaps the Knesset’s loudest voice calling for an investigation into Netanyahu’s alleged corruption, particularly surrounding the submarine scandal. Former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon this week said he is so certain of that corruption that if Netanyahu is not indicted, “I will go on a speaking tour to tell all. I will reveal everything.”
Margalit will fight for peace with Israel’s neighbors, not by restarting the typical negotiations but by first building relationships – businessperson to businessperson, legislator to legislator, city official to city official.
I was privileged to work with Margalit last summer on a regional peace plan – what we call the Plan of Converging Interests – that looks to joint projects with Israel’s neighbors, including the Palestinians, in such areas as hi-tech, agriculture, water management, cybersecurity and protecting our borders from terrorists.
We’ve already met with business and political leaders from Arab nations, and Margalit recognizes that the positive relationships with Israel’s Arab neighbors created as a result of this plan will be a key factor in finally reaching a peace accord with the Palestinians.
Thanks in part to Margalit, the Labor Party has regained its vibrancy, and as its leader, he will ensure that the party of David Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir and my father, Yitzhak Rabin, all of blessed memory, is a wide-open and inclusive tent – unlike so many of Israel’s other parties whose authoritarian leadership demands that their members and adherents toe their narrow, rigid lines or leave.
A man of action, Margalit speaks in a loud, clear voice, never saying one thing but meaning another, let alone saying different things to different constituencies. He is a Golani Brigade soldier and an Israeli patriot, who is proud to be on the Left, representing the Labor Party’s fundamental Zionism and its commitment to safeguard Israel’s social values, protecting its weak and poor.
With his experience in the public arena and in entrepreneurial business, Erel Margalit is the best candidate to be the next chairman of the Labor Party and Israel’s prime minister.
Yuval Rabin has 30 years of experience and contacts working with multi-national enterprises as well as governments, states and US federal entities. He has been a managing partner at the Washington-based Israeli representation firm RSLB (Rabin, Sheves, Lipkin-Shahak and Birger), the first non-Americans to lobby the US administration on behalf of foreign countries.
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