Itzik Shmuli rules out run for Labor leadership, leaving party

Yaron Zelekha running with three professors.

Prof. Yaron Zelekha (photo credit: FLASH90)
Prof. Yaron Zelekha
(photo credit: FLASH90)
Labor, Social Services and Social Equality Minister Itzik Shmuli announced on Tuesday evening that he would not run in next Sunday's Labor leadership primary.
In a post on Facebook, Shmuli warned that the Labor primary could prevent the political mergers needed to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.In his message, Shmuli hinted that he would not remain in the Labor Party, and would be running on a different slate. Sources close to him said he would reveal his new political home very soon.
Former prime minister Ehud Barak wrote on social media on Monday night that he would not accept requests from Labor activists to run.
The candidates who have declared they are running are MK Merav Michaeli, advertising executive Gil Beilin, online casino millionaire Avi Shaked and activist David Landsman.
Michaeli is now the clear front runner. If elected, she may be the only woman leading a party in the election. The deadline to join the race is Thursday.
Labor does not cross the  3.25% electoral threshold in any poll and is expected to run together with another party in the March 23 election
Former accountant-general Yaron Zelekha announced the candidates of his Economy Party on Tuesday afternoon. Zelekha will be followed on the list by three renowned professors, who would enter the Knesset with him if he passes the threshold.
Osnat Akirav, who will be second on the list, is a senior lecturer in Political Science at the Western Galilee College, the head of its department of political science and its research Galilee institute. She is an authority on legislative studies, candidate selection methods, local government and other elements of the Israeli political system. She served 10 years as a local council representative.
In 2010 and in 2015 she received a prize for outstanding teaching in political science from the American Political Science Association. In 2019 she was elected as the vice president of the Israeli Political Science Association.
Prof, Yoram Yovell, who will be third, is a highly respected psychiatrist, brain researcher, psychoanalyst, TV presenter, author and an international keynote speaker.
Born in Jerusalem, he trained at Columbia University in the laboratory of Nobel Prize winner Eric Kandel and then worked for a few years as a therapist in Manhattan. He received his Ph.D. in neurobiology from the prestigious Weizmann Institute in 1990 and is currently an associate professor in the Division of Clinical Neuroscience at Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center that is part of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The fourth candidate will be the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev social work professor Alean El-Krenawi.
Krenawi was introduced as the Labor Party's candidate to be a minister in the last election. He was chosen in the past to light a torch on Independence Day.