Israeli MKs’ Request for Full Histadrut Vote Nixed

District court judge confirmed that the Histadrut's house of representatives was the body authorized to decide who will succeed the chairman Ofer Eini.

The Tel Aviv District Court rejected a request Thursday by two Labor Party Knesset members to bar selection of a successor to Histadrut labor federation chairman Ofer Eini by the federation’s 171-member house of representatives. The MKs, Eitan Cabel and Miki Rosenthal – who view themselves as possible successors to Eini – claimed that the house does not properly represent the federation’s half million members, who should be given the chance to decide the matter.

In his ruling, District Court Judge Yona Ettedgui confirmed that the Histadrut’s house of representatives was the body authorized to decide who will succeed Eini, who announced last month that he is stepping down in February. Eini has tapped Avi Nissenkorn, who heads the labor federation’s trade union department, to succeed him.

The same day as Eini’s announcement, notices were sent to members of the house announcing that a meeting would be convened a week later to confirm Eini’s successor. Following a request by Cabel and Rosenthal for a temporary court order suspending the process, the meeting of the house of representatives was delayed, but ultimately held on December 4. At that time, a recommendation of the Histadrut’s constitution committee was approved providing that every Histadrut faction could propose a candidate as successor to Eini, but it would not require that the choice of chairman be put to a vote of the full membership.

The two MKs appealed that resolution as well, claiming that the house did not suitably represent the Histadrut’s half million members because at least 47 of the 171 members are employees of the labor federation and therefore dependent on the labor union for their livelihood. In his ruling, Judge Ettedgui said this did not constitute a conflict of interest. Cabel has said he would appeal to the Supreme Court.