Nine Women Secure Electable Spots on Labor Party Ticket

Former party leader Yachimovich secures third position, social justice protest leader Stav Shafir fifth place, and dark horse defense attorney Revital Swid claims fourteenth slot.

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Stav Shaffir during the Labor primary election, January 13, 2015.
Stav Shaffir during the Labor primary election, January 13, 2015. Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Officials from the Labor Party and Hatnuah said on Tuesday that the top part of their combined slate will include a record number of women. There are around 10 women in the top 25 positions, whose occupants, according to some polls, are likely to make it into the Knesset.

Former Labor leader MK Shelly Yacimovich ranked first in the party primary, according to the results of the vote held on Tuesday. Yacimovich will be placed third on Labor's Knesset ticket, after party leader Isaac Herzog and Hatnuah's Tzipi Livni.

Knesset members Stav Shaffir, Itzik Shmuli and Omer Bar-Lev follow Yacimovich on the ticket in places 4, 5 and 6 respectively.

MK Merav Michaeli is ninth on Labor's list, which includes assurances made to Tzipi Livni's Hatnuah party, as part of the unity deal between the two parties. MK Eitan Cabel, who was expected by many to be placed first, is 10th on the list.

Labor is expected to formally present its Knesset slate at a gala campaign event Wednesday evening. Then it will get down to the real work: trying to attract voters from the moderate right, including those who formerly supported Likud, in an effort to substantially increase its Knesset representation.

The turnout on Tuesday was 58.9 percent, higher than the 57.7 percent of the registered voters who voted in the primaries two years ago. The election committee said voting went very smoothly.

Dark hourse defense lawyer wins 14th place

The high-profile criminal defense lawyer Revital Swid was the dark horse of Tuesday’s Labor Party primary, sweeping into the eminently electable 14th place.

She overtook MK Michal Biran (No. 19) and other well-known female contenders, including industrialist Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin (No. 22) and lobbyist Behira Berdugo, the Labor Party’s spokeswoman back when Shimon Peres led the party.

Before beginning her bid to represent Labor in the Knesset, Swid had never joined a party or engaged in any political activity other than active membership in the Israel Bar Association. In a few short weeks, she recruited 7,915 Labor Party supporters who sent her to the top of the list.

On Tuesday she stood for hours at the entrance to Beit Sokolow, the main polling station in Tel Aviv, handing out breath mints and trying to persuade the hundreds of party members waiting in line to vote for her.

“The distance between the Supreme Court and the Knesset is 850 meters, which is 11 minutes on foot and four minutes by car. It took me 23 years to cover this distance, from my position as defense attorney,” Swid said in a short promotional video. If elected, she will focus on some of the same areas she deals with today: combating verbal and physical violence and Internet bullying and protecting the Supreme Court and its symbolic status.

The No. 14 slot, which Swid won in the primary, is one of four spots in the top 20 that are reserved for women, and she owes her spot there to that mechanism for affirmative action. But MKs Shelly Yacimovich, Stav Shaffir and Merav Michaeli reached the top 10 on their own.

The preliminary list is as follows:

1. Isaac Herzog
2. Reserved for Hatnuah
3. Shelly Yacimovich
4. Stav Shaffir
5. Itzik Shmuli
6. Omer Bar-Lev
7. Hilik Bar (reserved for party secretary general)
8. Reserved for Hatnuah
9. Merav Michaeli
10. Eitan Cabel
11. Reserved for Herzog appointee
12. Erel Margalit
13. Miki Rosenthal
14. Revital Swid
15. Danny Attar
16. Reserved for Hatnuah
17. Zohir Bahalul
18. Eitan Broshi
19. Michal Biran
20. Nachman Shai
21. Reserved for Hatnuah
22. Ayelet Nachmias Verbin
23. Yossi Yona
24. Reserved for Hatnuah
25. Reserved for Hatnuah

Former Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich during the Labor primary election, January 13, 2015. Photo by Photo by Tomer Appelbaum

Revital Swid in 2011. The defense attorney had never even joined a political party before her Labor Party bid. Photo by Moti Kimche

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