Michaeli: Yacimovich trying to block my candidacy

Labor leader trying to position party as more centrist, focus on "moving past Right and Left politics."

Shelly Yacimovich at Labor Central Committee 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Shelly Yacimovich at Labor Central Committee 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Labor chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich has been working to block primary candidate Merav Michaeli from running, according to the latter.
Michaeli, a Haaretz columnist known for her left-wing and feminist opinions as well as her social activism, announced last week that she is running in the November 29 Labor primary.
Unlike for many other celebrity candidates in the party, Yacimovich did not hold a joint press conference or photo-op with her following the announcement.
In addition, Michaeli has expressed concern that Yacimovich will single her out and not approve her candidacy, because she has been a party member for less than the requisite six months, even though Yacimovich made exceptions for former National Union of Israeli Students chairman Itzik Shmuly, journalist Miki Rosenthal and social protest leader Stav Shaffir.
A party source pointed to Yacimovich’s coldness toward Michaeli and former Peace Now secretary-general Yariv Oppenheimer, saying it is because they are further to the Left than she has been positioning Labor.
Yacimovich’s campaign calls Labor a “Center-Left party” and has repeatedly said it wants to “move past typical Right and Left politics” and to focus on the economy.
In interviews with various news outlets, Michaeli said that in the days before she made her candidacy public, she tried to call Yacimovich. The two women are acquaintances, as the Labor chairwoman is also a former journalist, but Yacimovich screened all of Michaeli’s calls, she said.
Michaeli said she continued to call and SMS Yacimovich for five days, and then called Labor faction leader Isaac Herzog to notify him of her candidacy.
Soon after, Michaeli received a call from Yacimovich, who greeted her by saying, “Hi Honey.”
The rest of the conversation was not as sweet, according to the Haaretz columnist.
Michaeli said Yacimovich was brusque and said it was “not critical” for them to meet.
On Tuesday, Labor strategist Shalom Kital called Michaeli to discourage her from running.
She said Kital told her he is not sure Yacimovich will approve her candidacy, because there are too many journalists running in Labor, and the candidates list is insufficiently varied.
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Michaeli responded that she is running as a feminist and social activist.
Later that day, Michaeli attended the Labor central committee meeting, and party activists and MKs greeted her warmly.
The feminist activist also sent Yacimovich a letter asking her to approve shortening the minimum membership time to allow her to run in the primary, but the Labor leader has yet to answer.
Yacimovich’s camp would not directly respond to questions about Michaeli, saying only: “Due to the Labor Party’s great success, many candidates who are not party members have asked to join us and run.
The party’s constitution says that a candidate must be a member for six months by Election Day. Candidacy in the primary by someone who does not meet this requirement must be approved by the party secretariat. Every case will be judged individually and according to the good of the Labor Party.”