Israel Election: Labor Leader Michaeli Reelected, Ending Chain of One-term Party Chiefs

All of the party’s Knesset members have come out in support of Merav Michaeli, who won a thumping victory over her sole rival ahead of Israel's upcoming elections

Michael Hauser Tov
Michael Hauser Tov
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Merav Michaeli, after winning the Labor Party primary on Monday.
Merav Michaeli, after winning the Labor Party primary on Monday.Credit: Ofer Vaknin
Michael Hauser Tov
Michael Hauser Tov

Merav Michaeli won a second term as Labor Party leader on Monday, defeating her sole rival, party secretary-general Eran Hermoni, by a massive margin to lead Labor into Israel's November 1 election.

As Biden visits Israel, and election shuffle begins

-- : --

This marks a shift in Labor’s recent history of leaders who were either ousted from the party or quit after one term.

Israel's Arab voters can decide it all. Do they want to? LISTEN to Election Overdose

-- : --

The party reported that 15,070 party members – 43 percent of eligible voters – cast their vote on Monday, a 35 percent increase from the voting rate in the previous election for party leader. Michaeli took 82.5 percent of the vote, with Hermoni taking 16.2 percent and about 1 percent abstaining.

The party said 36,000 members were entitled to participate in the primary, either online or at one of the four polling places in major cities.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid congratulated Michaeli on her win, tweeting "We will continue to work together for the sake of Israel's citizens." Former Meretz chairwoman Zehava Galon also congratulated her, writing that "female leadership wins."

Michaeli spent most of Monday telephoning voters and activists. Her campaign headquarters hoped for a strong turnout, which officials said would suggest high levels of voter interest ahead of the general election. In any case, party members were able to cast their votes online, which made doing so much simpler and possibly boosted voter turnout.

On Sunday, all of Labor’s lawmakers signed a joint letter of support for Michaeli. “All of us as a faction, have supported Merav Michaeli’s candidacy for a long time and hope that all party members will give her a renewed vote of confidence,” they wrote.

No party lawmaker sought to challenge Michaeli, not even the two cabinet ministers – Nachman Shai and Omer Bar-Lev – who weighed running for the job but ended up backing her candidacy. Elections to determine the party list are slated to take place August 9.

The broad support Michaeli enjoys in the party not only virtually ensured her a second term, but will enable her to enforce a key part of her election strategy, which is to prevent a merger with the Meretz party at all costs. Party sources said the fact that party lawmakers had backed Michaeli wall-to-wall indicates that they support her position. However, if major changes happen within the party list on August 9, the support she enjoys regarding the merger issue may diminish.

One scenario that worries Labor leaders is that Meretz’s support ahead of the elections will grow after Zehava Galon takes over the chairmanship of Meretz, as is widely expected. Among other things, Labor officials are concerned that in such a case, Michaeli’s status as the only female party leader on the left will be eroded. Until now, that has been a significant electoral asset to the party.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN


Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott