Thousands of supporters crowded a cavernous events hall in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, to see Histadrut National Labor Union Chairman Ofer Eini kick off his re-election bid.
The event was a show of force of sorts for Eini, and had the atmosphere of a soccer match, with the disproportionately male supporters breaking into applause and chants of “Ofer Eini, Ofer Eini!” intermittently as speakers filed on and off the stage. Eini’s campaign slogan “leadership with responsibility” was plastered on posters and banners throughout the hall.
Eini faces a challenge in the May 22nd elections from Labor Party MK Eitan Cabel, who has secured the support of former Histadrut head and Defense Minister Amir Peretz, as well as the Meretz and Hadash parties, and Histadrut activists who broke off from the Likud party.
Moments before Eini began his speech, Chairman of the Israel Railways workers’ union Gila Edri took to the stage to thank Eini, saying “I don’t need an introduction, I’ve caused enough trouble,” before expressing her gratefulness that the union has “a responsible father [Eini] who knows how to protect us from all those who wish to do us harm.”