Labor primaries: Here are the winners and the losers

Lazimi, Kariv, Rayten win big in Labor primary

 Labor leader and Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli with MK's and party members after the results were announced in the Labor party primary elections, in Tel Aviv, August 9, 2022.  (photo credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90)
Labor leader and Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli with MK's and party members after the results were announced in the Labor party primary elections, in Tel Aviv, August 9, 2022.
(photo credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90)

MK Naama Lazimi finished in first place in the Labor primary and will be number two on Labor’s list after party chairwoman Merav Michaeli, the party announced on Tuesday evening. After Lazimi were MKs Gilad Kariv, Efrat Rayten, Ram Shefa and Emilie Moatti, followed by newcomer Yaya Fink, MK Ibtisam Mara’ana-Menuhin and Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev, the party announced.

The party rules stipulate that beginning with the number two spot, the list must include an even number of men and women in a “zipper” alignment, where each man is followed by a woman and vice versa, and the results were announced after the list was aligned accordingly.

In actual votes, Moatti finished in fourth, ahead of Shefa, and Bar Lev finished far ahead of Mara'ana-Menuhin, who finished with 114 votes more than Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai. While Shai finished as the ninth-highest vote-getter, he will only be number 17 on the list due to the gender zipper alignment and other spots reserved for representatives of the Kibbutzim, Moshavim and Druze.

"Labor's voters appreciate hard work," Lazimi said after the results were announced. "They appreciate MKs who come to parliament to work, to enact laws, and to fight for the image of this place. They put me in this place and I owe them. I am very, very excited.

"The Labor Party chose a social democratic social list that will fight for equality, will fight against the cost of protest in order to find life and well-being," she said.

Following the announcement Kariv said: "Together with the chairman of the party, we will do everything to increase the power of the Labor Party, and to ensure that Israel is not governed by a coalition of extremists and fanatics.

"Labor's list in the 25th Knesset represents all our values: security and a diplomatic agreement [on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict], social justice, solidarity and freedom of religion and conscience.

"Starting tomorrow morning we will work hard so that as many members of the list as possible serve in the next Knesset!", Kariv said.

With an average of slightly over five mandates in the polls,  the results indicate  that Moatti, Mara’ana-Menuhin and Bar Lev will no longer serve in the Knesset. If the party joins a coalition and some of its members become ministers, they can then resign from the Knesset and the next in line will enter. A realistic scenario in which Labor receives two ministerial portfolios means that Moatti could eventually end up back in the Knesset, along with Fink.

Michaeli, however, has the power to choose someone in one spot between two and six on the list. If she chooses to actualize her personal choice, some of the top five will be pushed back one spot.

Fink therefore appears to be the only candidate to make the list in a realistic spot who is not an MK. Fink, 38, is a religious-Zionist, born to parents who made aliyah from the US, served as chief of staff for former opposition leader Shelly Yachimovich and finished in a respectable 12th place in the Labor primary ahead of the March 2019 election. He is currently the head of “Darkenu,” an organization that promotes a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a welfare, equality-based economy, religious pluralism and “safeguarding the rule of law against racism, corruption and incitement,” according to its website.

The big losers from the vote are Bar Lev and Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai. Bar Lev finished in eighth place and Shai finished in 16th place, after finishing in first and sixth, respectively, in Labor’s previous primary.

Some 22,679 out of approximately 39,500 eligible voters cast their vote, which adds up to approximately 57.4%, the party said. The ballots were cast remotely via smartphone, and four physical booths were opened in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Beersheba for those who wished to vote in person. Each voter chose between five and seven candidates out of the 33 who ran.

“In the last Knesset, Labor was without a doubt the best faction in the Israeli Knesset,” Party leader and Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli said to reporters after casting her ballot in Tel Aviv.

"[This is true] of each MK individually, but also as a group the MKs worked together, in cooperation and without divisiveness or all kinds of rogue voting. Truly the most stable and effective faction," she said.

“We intend to enlarge the number of mandates we receive, such that there will undoubtedly be a winning team,” she said.

Voters seemed excited about the election.

“I’m happy that I received 200,000 SMSs in recent days. On one hand it’s irritating, but on the other it is a sign that the party is active, and that there are people who are eager to take part [in the campaign],” Assaf, a 28-year-old from Ashdod, said to The Jerusalem Post.

Assaf said he voted for current MKs Naama Lazimi, Efrat Rayten, Ibtisam Mara’ana-Menuhin and Gilad Kariv, as well as newcomers Tomer Avital and Yaya Fink. The vote for Mara’ana-Menuchin was especially important, he said.

“She represents Israeli-Palestinian and Jewish Arab partnership, both in her activity and her character and persona. She may be the only such representative since it is not clear whether Meretz will [include an Arab representative]. She is an important voice for the Palestinians, for foreign workers, people who have the smallest voice, she gives them a voice,” he said.

Merav Michaeli's recommendations

Michaeli sent out an email earlier on Tuesday as the voting began, titled “My Recommendations.”

“Friends, in the primary election a year-and-a-half ago, you chose the best team in the Knesset. Period. A list that together with me promoted our values in every ministry, committee and vote,” Michaeli wrote.

 Labor leader Merav Michaeli speaks to the media after voting in the Labor primary elections. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV) Labor leader Merav Michaeli speaks to the media after voting in the Labor primary elections. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

“We have a unified and close-knit faction that assisted me in stopping the party tradition of back-stabbing and inner fighting, which led to great party achievements while maintaining responsible and stable conduct in the Change Government!

"To my delight, all of the faction members decided to compete in the upcoming primary election and I really hope that they will all continue to lead the party's values in the next Knesset, but will be joined by additional new representatives who chose to join us and strengthen this special team."

Labor leader Merav Michaeli

“To my delight, all of the faction members decided to compete in the upcoming primary election and I really hope that they will all continue to lead the party’s values in the next Knesset, but will be joined with additional new representatives who chose to join us and strengthen this special team.

“My recommendations for today include 33 candidates who choose to view the Labor Party as their home, and chose to run for political office in the longest and most democratic process,” Michaeli wrote.