Who is Running in the Labor Primaries?

January 12, 2015  

Twenty-four newcomers to national politics will be running for a seat on the joint Labor-Hatnua list in the Labor primaries Tuesday, according to Walla! News. 

The news site listed nine of the lesser-known candidates on the list, giving a glimpse into what kind of initiatives Labor could introduce in the 20th Knesset. 

  • Ayelet Nechmias-Varbin – a director of several companies, CEO of Tavlit Plastics, and member of Labor for 20 years. Nechmias Varbin served as an advisor to former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin; she also established the Forum for Families of Reservists to strengthen the relationship between families and the IDF. Nachmias-Varbin’s platform includes promoting employment, hi-tech in Israel, and equal parenting rights.​
  • Revital Saveed – lawyer and onetime Bnei Akiva counselor who identifies as “traditional” and keeps Shabbat (and presumably kosher as well). Saveed’s platform includes closing Israel’s socioeconomic gaps, working against ‘incitement and racism,’ and strengthening the legal system. 
  • Nazer Elalimi – lawyer and 20-year member of Labor whose platform includes ‘domestic issues’ (e.g. education, socioeconomics) and, specifically, promoting national service or civil service for Israeli Arabs. 
  • Rabbi Gilad Kariv – Reform rabbi who serves as the director of the Reform movement in Israel, known for working against gender-segregated (“mehadrin”) buses and forced gender segregation at funerals. Kariv’s platform includes civil marriage, separation of religion and state, and forming an official Israeli constitution; he has also made headlines recently for openly attacking the Jewish Home party. Kariv was also accused earlier this year of resorting to “extortion” to get the controversial Conversion Law passed through the Knesset. 
  • Simi Baron – paralegal for Labor and member since 1999; promises to work for a peace deal with the Palestinian Authority (PA) “which does not ignore the economic situation.” 
  • Professor Yossi Yona – University of Pennsylvania alum who was behind the Geneva Initiative; platform based on equal education for all Israeli children and workers’ rights. Yona was recently named by rights group Im Tirzu as having strong connections to the extreme leftist New Israel Fund. 
  • Eitan Broshi – head of the Jezreel Valley Regional Council; Served as CEO of the Ministry of Science, Culture and Sport; was Assistant Secretary of Defense for Settlement Affairs during the tenure of former prime minister Ehud Barak as Defense Minister; platform to mandate two-state solution, make anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination a mandatory school holiday, and toughening punishments for racism and hate crimes (including, potentially, ‘price tag’ attacks – ed.). In 2011 he was instrumental in thawing a 100-unit building freeze in Elkana. 
  • Alon Piletz – co-owner of Dizengoff Center, served on Board to Promote Education for Children in the Periphery (i.e. Galilee, Negev – ed.); platform based on “advancing the two-state solution” and “advancing a more liberal, open-minded, pluralist society.” 
  • Danny Atar – Gilboa Regional Council Chairman, founder of Yachad program within the Jewish Agency to send Israeli youth representatives to Jewish communities worldwide, served in local government positions; platform based on “promoting love of the land, reducing social disparities, promoting dialogue with the Palestinians.”

While Labor is still projected to place second in the Knesset – and likely serve in the Opposition – according to the latest polls, the list provides an inkling of the legislation which could be on the table in the event Labor makes significant gains in the general elections. 

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