FSU immigrant group withdraws from Labor Party

"Yacimovich ignores us and our issues," says Labor Immigrants’ Organization, which is composed of Russian olim.

Labor party chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Labor party chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Former Labor MK Leon Litinetski, who served in the Knesset from 2008-2009, said that in the past year, since Yacimovich was elected party leader, “the organization was ignored, as are the topics that are important to us.”
The Labor Immigrants’ Organization, comprised almost entirely of Israelis from the Former Soviet Union, focuses on issues such as burials for non- Jewish IDF soldiers and civil marriages.
The former MK, a Labor member for over 20 years, revived the Labor Immigrants’ Organization in 2007, and said he recruited over 6,000 Russian- speaking immigrants to the party within a year, but over 70 percent of them have left since 2010.
Litinetski called Yacimovich’s attitude “apparently a strange strategic decision not to pay attention to immigrants.”
“Out of responsibility and faith, we did not leave in the past two years because we thought we could have an influence, talk to the leadership and explain to Yacimovich that she made a mistake,” he said.
“However, since she was elected, she has not bothered to even meet with the organization’s leaders, although we requested to speak with her many times.”
Litinetski attempted to speak to Yacimovich last week, and tried once more on Tuesday morning, to no avail.
The organization plans to meet this week to decide “if there is a political framework that answers our ideological demands, and will act, not just promise.”
Yacimovich’s spokeswoman said that Litinetski “made a ridiculous demand” that Yacimovich save him a spot high on the party list.
“In 2010, the number of FSU immigrants in the party was 1,642, and in 2012 the number reached 2,558,” the spokeswoman stated. “Two of Yacimovich’s parliamentary assistants are from the FSU and she has a dedicated group of Russian- speaking volunteers involved in many party activities.”
The spokeswoman added that Yacimovich proposes social laws and policies that help immigrants.