High on Labor list, Fink vows to fight for 'left-leaning' religious values

Yair “Yaya” Fink won 12th place on the Labor list during Monday's elections, marking him as a powerful and well-liked presence on the list the party will present to voters ahead of April 9.

Yair “Yaya” Fink (photo credit: FACEBOOK)
Yair “Yaya” Fink
(photo credit: FACEBOOK)
In a surprising turn of events, a fairly unknown religious-Zionist politician from Jaffa won 12th place on the list Labor presented to the Israeli public on Monday night. His name is Yair “Yaya” Fink and he promises to deliver a new type of religious Zionism, one which is supportive of gay rights, peace, and even limited public transportation on Shabbat.
The son of Jewish-American olim (immigrants), Fink was born in Jerusalem to a father from Scranton, Pennsylvania and a mother from Brooklyn, New York and is the youngest of his five siblings. His mother strongly supports her son's decision to enter politics and spent all day Monday encouraging Labor party members to vote for him, earning a selfie with Labor leader MK Avi Gabbay. 
He resides in Jaffa and is currently a member of the public council of Tzav Pius, an NGO devoted to better relations between secular and religious Israelis, and enjoys a top position in Ofek, a cooperative bank initiative. He served in the IDF paratroopers unit and previously worked as a political adviser for Opposition Leader MK Shelly Yachimovich.
"I congratulate Itzik Shmuli and Stav Shaffir, young, brilliant, wise [politicians] who are worthy of each vote they won," Yachimovich said on Monday. "Special congratulations are in order for Yaya Fink...who brings to the Knesset pluralistic and tolerant Jewish values."
MK Shmuli won second place and MK Shaffir third, behind party leader Gabbay marking them as powerful leaders in the established party. The actual list will be formulated after the party adds reserved slots which will push down the other candidates.     
In an interview given to Maariv, the sister publication of The Jerusalem Post, Fink said that he "speaks for the real Judaism, the tolerant Judaism that believes in 'love thy neighbor'... Jewish values that put equality and social justice at the center."
Saying that he views liberal Leftist values and Jewish values as complementary, he voiced support for LGBT equal rights, civil marriages for Jewish Israelis, and dividing Jerusalem to obtain a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
He has been a vegetarian since the age of 7 and was a serious basketball player in high-school.
Gil Hoffman contributed to this story.