Former Labor Party Leader Yacimovich to Run for Leadership of Israel's Largest Union

Zionist Union lawmaker will run against current Histadrut labor federation Chairman Avi Nissenkorn in May election.

Zionist Union MK Shelly Yacimovich.
Moti Milrod

Former Labor Party Chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich announced Sunday she will run in the leadership election for Israel’s largest union, the Histadrut labor federation.

Yacimovich, currently a Zionist Union MK, and Knesset Economic Affairs Committee Chairman Eitan Cabel signed an agreement, under which Yacimovich would run at the head of Cabel’s faction in the labor federation.

Yacimovich issued an announcement thanking Cabel for letting her use his faction.

“Together we’ll turn this important organization into a strong, social arrowhead, brave and honest, on behalf of the basic right to earn a salary with dignity,” she said.

Current Histadrut Chairman Avi Nissenkorn, who is planning to run for reelection in May, had previously believed he would be the only candidate.
Nissenkorn assumed the role from former Chairman Ofer Eini without any need for an election. He heads the largest faction within the Histadrut.

Yacimovich has no faction of her own. Cabel founded his faction before the previous Histadrut election, in May 2012, when he ran against Eini and received 33% of the vote. His faction is run by a Labor Party and Histadrut activist, Itzik Yoel.

Until recently, it had been unclear whether Cabel could let Yacimovich take control of his faction.

The faction had not been part of Nissenkorn’s coalition until a month ago, when it was dragged into it based on the argument that since it would not be putting forward its own candidate, it was therefore supporting Nissenkorn’s reelection.

Cabel expressed his anger over the coalition move Sunday, saying, “It’s mine. I founded it, I did the work, I took a 700,000-shekel loan ($186,100) to run the campaign. It’s untenable that I’d hand it to someone to watch over it and not get it back. Now I know that Nissenkorn and Benny Eini – head of the coalition [of which Nissenkorn’s faction is a part] and brother of Ofer Eini – were in contact with [my] coalition members and simply stole my coalition.”

On Saturday, Cabel said he would turn to the courts if the faction was not returned to him.

During the previous election, Eini tried to block Cabel from running, but Tel Aviv District Court overruled Eini.

Nissenkorn’s faction stated in response that it and Nissenkorn were prepared to run against any candidate. Nissenkorn’s work on behalf of workers and to close social gaps speaks for itself, his faction stated.

Cabel’s claims relate to his faction’s internal issues, and the faction openly signed a coalition agreement with Nissenkorn’s faction, it added.