Under Pressure, Israeli Labor Chief to Give Up One of His Picks for Election Ticket

Avi Gabbay will only pick three people of his choosing for Labor's election ticket, as many current Labor members of Knesset are expected to lose their seats

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Avi Gabbay, January 2018
Avi Gabbay, January 2018Credit: Olivier Fitoussi
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Labor Party Chairman Avi Gabbay announced on Sunday that he would put only three people of his own choosing in the top 20 slots in Labor’s election ticket, rather than the four he is entitled to.

Gabbay said he would still place two people in the top 10, in the second and 10th slots, but will only put one in the second 10, in the 16th slot. In addition, he said that the party may guarantee that women receive at least three out of the top 10 slots and three out of the second 10.

Haaretz Weekly Ep. 11

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Gabbay's decision to give up one of his four picks is meant to ease distress among the party's current Knesset members, many of whom are likely to lose their seats if recent polls prove accurate. If Gabbay’s breakup with Tzipi Livni’s Hatnuah party, which ran on a joint ticket with Labor in the last election, frees two additional slots that had been previously reserved for Hatnuah members – Livni in the second slot and Yoel Hasson in the 14th.

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Labor’s leadership decided on Sunday to reserve the 14th slot for a representative of the kibbutz movement and the 17th and 23rd slots for minorities. This is a big disappointment for minority groups, who won’t have any representation in the first 10. Last election, the Druze community also got the 17th slot, but at the time, that was considered a safe seat, because the Zionist Union joint ticket was expected to win well over 20 seats, and it did, winning 24.

Druze party members convened later on Sunday at the house of MK Saleh Saad and urged Gabbay to give their community a guaranteed slot in the top 10, arguing that it is especially important given the battle against the nation-state law, which both the Druze community and the Labor Party agree discriminates against minorities.

Saad, who is Labor’s current Druze MK, said the community will seek to get the decision changed at Labor’s convention on Thursday “if we don’t reach an agreement which will enable suitable representation for the Druze community.”

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