Israel's Kamala Harris? Tamano-Shata Gantz's #2

Tamano-Shata is Israel's first Ethiopian-born cabinet minister.

PNINA TAMANO-SHATA: We are the generation that merited to be the one that returned to Zion, and we need to encourage aliyah because this is the home of all Jews. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
PNINA TAMANO-SHATA: We are the generation that merited to be the one that returned to Zion, and we need to encourage aliyah because this is the home of all Jews.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz has decided to place Aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata second on the Blue and White list for the March 23 election, sources in the party told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday.
The sources said that Gantz was inspired by US President Joe Biden’s decision to select Kamala Harris as his vice presidential running mate.
Tamano-Shata is Israel’s first Ethiopian-born cabinet minister. She was a member of Yesh Atid before defecting to Blue and White.
“Pnina embodies every admirable quality in Israeli politics and all of the truly beautiful things about Israeli society,” Gantz said. “Beyond her proven track record of groundbreaking public service, she is also living proof of the remarkable human ability to transcend challenging circumstances and create real change; a symbol of the great things we can accomplish when we come together as a unified people. In the spirit of Blue and White’s driving vision  – an Israel in which every citizen, regardless of background, can become anything they aspire to be – I am proud of my partnership with Pnina.”
Gantz and Tamano-Shata will be followed on the list by ministers Chili Tropper, Michael Biton, Orit Farkash-Hacohen and Alon Schuster.
Current ministers Omer Yankelevitch (Blue and White) and Itzik Shmuli (Labor) turned down offers to run with Blue and White and decided to quit politics. Yankelevitch will remain a minister until the next government is formed, while Shmuli will quit immediately.
Shmuli announced on Wednesday morning that he will be taking a break from politics, ending weeks of speculation about his future. He will be quitting his cabinet post as labor, social affairs and social services minister, as Labor Party institutions had decided.
In a Facebook post, Shmuli wrote that he erred when he joined Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.
“Leaders need to know to admit when they made a mistake and take responsibility,” Shmuli said. “My heart has instructed me that this is the right thing to do.”
The lists of Yesh Atid, Yisrael Beytenu and Yamina were also submitted to the Central Elections Committee on Wednesday.
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid will be followed by MKs Orna Barbivai, Meir Cohen, Karin Elharar and former Blue and White minister Merav Cohen.
The next candidates on the list are MKs Yoel Razbozov, Elazar Stern, Mickey Levy, former Kulanu MK Merav Ben-Ari and MK Ram Ben Barak.
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman will be followed by MKs Oded Forer, Evgeny Sova, Eli Avidar and Yulia Malinovsky.
Yamina’s list will be headed by party leader Naftali Bennett, then faction head MK Ayelet Shaked, Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi, MK Matan Kahana and the founder and head of the Tavor leadership academy Amichai Chikli.
Bennett surprisingly put former Bayit Yehudi director-general Nir Orbach sixth on the list, followed by “I Am Shulman” movement leader Abir Kara and former MK Idit Silman. No. 9 on the list, Shirley Pinto, is a deaf Israeli activist, known for her work with the disabled. No. 10, Shai Maimon, heads a social media rapid response team.
No. 16 on the list, Jeremy Saltan, a Bennett adviser involved in Israeli public diplomacy, was born in Chicago.
“I have worked by Naftali’s side for a long time, and I am confident he is the only one who can lead Israel out of the worst crisis we have faced in a generation,” Saltan said. “Yamina is the natural home of the Anglo community. It would be my honor to serve Anglos – and all Israelis – in the next Knesset.”
The candidates have been promised that the party will support retention of the Norwegian Law which could help candidates further down the list enter the Knesset.
Yamina chose the letter yod to represent the list at polling stations. The party decided against a legal fight with the Religious Zionist Party and Bayit Yehudi for the tet-bet letters it ran under in the last election.
Tamar Beeri contributed to this report.