Yacimovich joins charged race for Histadrut leadership

Labor Party will support incumbent in election

MK Shelly Yacimovich (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
MK Shelly Yacimovich
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Zionist Union MK Shelly Yacimovich announced Sunday afternoon that she intends to run for the chairmanship of the powerful Histadrut labor federation against incumbent Avi Nissenkorn in an election set to be held in May.
Yacimovich had been mulling for months whether to run for her former post as leader of the Labor Party or for the Histadrut chairmanship. She said she chose the Histadrut because socioeconomic issues were more important to her and the country.
“I intend to bring about a revolution in an important organization and make it a powerful socioeconomic spearhead that will act with courage and clean hands to help the cause of making a living with self-respect,” Yacimovich said.
Nissenkorn did not welcome Yacimovich to the race. He instead made deals with all the factions in the Histadrut, which could prevent her from running against him.
Yacimovich received permission from Zionist Union MK Eitan Cabel to run at the helm of a faction he formed five years ago, the Socioeconomic Home. But its representatives in the Histadrut made a deal supporting Nissenkorn, which could leave Yacimovich out of the race.
Cabel and Yacimovich vowed to take the Socioeconomic Home to court to enable her to run. Cabel came to a meeting of the Histadrut leadership in Tel Aviv on Sunday, where he faced off against Nissenkorn, and they accused each other of lying.
“This is not North Korea, and you cannot prevent the elections from happening,” Cabel told Nissenkorn.
The Histadrut chief said that 10 days ago, Cabel met with him and endorsed him, and when he asked Cabel about his rumored support for Yacimovich, Cabel denied it.
“It is nice that we have a guest who comes here once in five years,” Nissenkorn said. “I hope he doesn’t lie to the citizens the same way.”
Leon Benlulu, a member of the Socioeconomic Home faction, said at the event that he never met Yacimovich and would not support her. He said he backed the Likud in national elections and saw no reason to work for her.
Yacimovich responded to the uproar by accusing Nissenkorn of a “pathetic attempt” to block her from running. She denied speculation that she cut a deal with Cabel in which she will support him in a bid for Labor Party leader in an election whose date has not been set but that must be held by July.
Incumbent Labor chairman Isaac Herzog and secretary-general Eran Hermoni both said Sunday that with all due respect to Yacimovich, Labor was committed to supporting Nissenkorn in the Histadrut race.
“Under the leadership of Avi Nissenkorn, the Histadrut proved it is working to implement the Labor Party’s vision of bridging the socioeconomic gaps in Israeli society and advancing equality and social justice,” Herzog said.
If Yacimovich wins and leaves the Knesset, she would be replaced by the next candidate on the Zionist Union list, Saleh Saad, who is Druse.