Why I support Shelly

If reelected, Shelly Yacimovich will succeed in unifying diverse groups within the party, will lead people of Israel in making real changes in coming years.

Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich 370 (photo credit: Artiom Degel)
Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich 370
(photo credit: Artiom Degel)
The dust hasn’t even settled yet from the battle over layoffs at Teva, and company leadership merely postponed the decision. Some 800 Israeli citizens are currently waiting impatiently to know if tomorrow they’ll need to find their way to the local unemployment office.
The person who fought the hardest to prevent Teva Pharmaceuticals from laying off these people was Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich.
With deep conviction and faith, she urged the prime minister and finance minister to urgently intervene, and within a few days the layoffs were revoked.
I must also commend the efforts made by the Histadrut chairman who joined the fight and helped win the battle. Others just stood by and mumbled.
Teva owes us an explanation why after all of the extremely generous tax breaks it has been receiving for years – and is still receiving – it is not willing to reciprocate by keeping these jobs available. After all, this is one of the reasons they received such favorable conditions in the first place.
In the meantime, there’s been a new development with Teva. Due to public pressure, the company has agreed to a higher tax rate and recently paid the state more than NIS 2 billion. From now on, earnings that until now have been “untouchable” will be used to pay higher taxes to the Israeli government.
Yacimovich has succeeded in returning the Labor party to its rightful place as the head of the Israeli social-democratic camp, which advocates equality and social justice and seeks to reduce the socio-economic gap and fight poverty. Let’s not forget that poverty in Israel is growing and we are ranked extremely low on the OECD list.
The Labor party was the ruling party for many years. It was the coalition leader for many years and during others it was a partner, and it made economic and social mistakes even during those years. It is our obligation to try to repair the damage, and the Labor party is proudly working towards these goals from the opposition.
During her tenure as Labor party chairwoman, Yacimovich has passed more than 40 laws in the Knesset. Many of these laws support disadvantaged individuals, citizens living in the periphery, women, the gay community and other marginalized sectors.
The majority of Israelis can support themselves, but their true colors come out when they show responsibility for the weak and for people different than themselves. We should be proud of these achievements.
However, we were left with a sour taste in our mouth after the most recent election. We had hoped for more, but we ended up with less.
This isn’t a reason for disappointment, but for renewed enthusiasm to convince the Israeli people that it’s time once again for the Labor party to lead the country.
We need to clarify what the ideological differences are between us and the parties on the right and in the center. I am sure that many citizens who voted for centrist parties in the previous election were disappointed with their elected leaders’ accomplishments and are now looking for a new political home that will protect the middle class.
The Labor party consistently uses its 15 seats to back the government and its various initiatives, such as the Governance Act and the Referendum Law. We are leading the opposition in its struggle within the Knesset, as well as in public opinion. From now on, we will also voice our opinion regarding the ongoing political negotiations.
Yacimovich admits today that the Labor party was not vocal enough regarding its political platform in the 2012 elections.
Today, however, the party is the leading the camp and is promoting the two states for two peoples solutions, as was shown in Yacimovich’s speech at the commencement of the Knesset winter session.
The Labor party has undertaken the commitment to support the prime minister in any way possible. He does not have our votes in his pocket, but we are certainly here to support him.
The Labor party faction is working diligently to expose all government failures.
Looking back at the first year of the Likud- Yesh Atid government, it is clear that this was yet another missed opportunity.
As election preparations got underway, Yacimovich publicly declared that Labor would not join a government lead by Binyamin Netanyahu; she was not interested in being a fig leaf for a government whose platform was so contradictory to our own. And that’s how it should have been.
If the time comes – and it very well might in the upcoming years – for the Labor party to take the lead, we will plan our moves wisely and try to alleviate the country’s socio-economic hardships.
The Labor party is gearing up for its primaries, which will take place long after the previous national elections, and years before the next ones. Every political battle is difficult and leaves its mark on the party. Throughout the years, the Labor party has survived serious ideological conflicts from within and in the end, after the dust settles, we always rally around our democratically chosen leader.
I believe that after she is reelected, Shelly Yacimovich will succeed in unifying all of the diverse groups within the party and will lead the people of Israel in making real changes in the coming years. We must reelect Yacimovich.
The author is a member of Knesset (Labor) and supports Shelly Yacimovich for the leadership of the party.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.