'Tired of the Political Part': Israeli Labor Lawmaker Yacimovich Won't Stand for Reelection

Former party chairwoman says she no longer believes her work can be ‘game-changing,’ arguing ‘these are not normal times’ for the country

Labor MK Shelly Yacimovich speaking at a press conference announcing she quits politics at the Knesset, Jerusalem, July 16, 2019.
Oren Ben Hakoon

Labor Party MK Shelly Yacimovich announced Tuesday she will take a break from politics and not run in the September 17 general election. “It’s been a prolonged personal process and a private, personal decision,” the erstwhile Labor Party chairwoman wrote on Twitter.

“The person who tipped the scales was my son, who said, ‘I feel you’ve exhausted your ability to change the discussion. There’s no doubt that you can still do good, but it won’t be game-changing as it was in the past,’” Yacimovich said. “I am grateful for the privilege I was given to serve the public in accordance with my beliefs.”

Yacimovich expressed disillusionment with Israeli politics and the gap between parliamentary work and politcians’ conduct. “I have grown very tired of the political part. Politics is a necessary instrument for realizing one’s worldview, but the balance ... has been badly violated over the past year, causing me great distress. Normally I would be enthusiastic about overcoming the challenge, but unfortunately these are not normal times.” Yacimovich stressed that she will continue to support the Labor Party and its new chairman, Amir Peretz.

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Yacimovich has served in the Knesset continuously since 2006, when she was first elected. She served as her party’s chairwoman for two years and during her 13 years in Knesset, 69 bills that she sponsored were passed. Most were in the areas of economics, social equality, fair governance and ethics. Prior to entering politics, she worked as a television and radio journalist.

Among her Knesset roles were leader of the opposition and chairwoman of the Ethics Committee, the State Control Committee and the Subcommittee for International Security, Relations, and Trade.