Israeli Millionaire Lawmaker Erel Margalit Announces Bid for Labor Leadership

In video announcing candidacy, Margalit says leftists must stop being ashamed of being leftists ■ He had already spent millions on unofficial campaign, taking advantage of legal loophole

Israeli lawmaker and Zionist Union leadership contender Erel Margalit at a conference in May, 2017. His latest campaign video is a "breath of fresh air."
Moti Milrod

After months of unofficial campaigning, Israeli lawmaker Erel Margalit (Zionist Union) announced Tuesday that he will challenge Isaac Herzog for leadership of the Labor Party

In a video released Tuesday, in which Margalit announced his candidacy, he said that "leftist has become a curse word and we'll stop that. Yes, I'm a leftist and not ashamed. We'll win only when we stop putting our heads down in shame of who we are. Under my leadership, the party will expand and bring the leftist camp to replace the rightist government."

Margalit also said that he plans "to lead a leftist camp that's proud of itself because Netanyahu's factory of incitement has led too many to hide and feel ashamed. Voters will choose us only if we present a clear alternative. If we blur our identity as we have until today, we'll continue crashing. The leftists are coming back to fight for norms and values in whose names the left created this country and we will stop being ashamed of who we are. Millions of citizens are waiting for us."

Margalit did not present a platform and did not address the candidates facing him in the Labor Party, but he did lash out at leaders of other parties - Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid specifically.

"Lapid will pass with the wind because he is trying to being an imitation of Netanyahu. It's either the path of Rabin or the path of Netanyahu and we choose the path of Rabin. I we try to look like Lapid, we'll lose to Lapid."

In the last few months, Margalit has spent millions of shekels out of pocket on the campaign, exploiting a law that allows him to spend his own money as long as he hasn't officially announced his candidacy. His funds will now by subject to the budget expenditure limit, a figure derived from the number of party members who have the right to vote.