Newcomer Avi Gabbay Beats Labor Chief Herzog in Fundraising for Leadership Race

The former Netanyahu minister and businessman gained the support of some of Israel's leading business magnates.

Avi Gabbay in 2105
Tomer Appelbaum

Businessman and former Netanyahu minister Avi Gabbay outperformed other Labor Party candidates in fundraising donations ahead of the party's leadership race.

Gabbay, who only recently joined the party, raised 350,000 shekels for his bid to lead the Labor Party, outperforming his competition with the support of Israeli magnates such as Check Point founder Marius Nacht (45,000 shekels), Toyota importer George Horesh (40,000 shekels), Former Psagot investment house CEO Roy Vermus (11,000 shekels), former Pelephone CEO Jacob Gelbard (10,000 shekels), and adman Ilan Shiloah (45,000 shekels).

Current Labor Chairman Isaac Herzog raised 225,000 shekels and added 25,000 from his own pocket. Herzog raised five 45,000-shekel donations (from Rachel Mishori spouse of Superpharm owner Leon Koffler, David Kolitz, a businessman in the security sector, Michael Levi importer of Fiat automobiles, private equity man Jonathan Kolber, and diamond trader Zvi Shor.

Amir Peretz raised 120,000 shekels consisting of relatively small donations. His biggest donations were from Zvi Neta chairman of Automotive Equipment and a foreign donor Danny Ben Sasson, both of 40 thousand shekels.

Each candidate may raise up to 1.3 million shekels to fund the race for chairman of the party. The elections will take place on July 4. The maximum legal donation from a single donor is 46,000 shekels.

As stated above Gabbay raised more than his competitors. Some former senior officials in the Finance Ministry are also among his donors: Former Director General Yarom Ariav (1,500 shekels), former Director of Budgets Department David Bo'az (1,800 shekels), former Director of Budgets Department Ran Carol (6,000 shekels), Ittamar Givton now CEO of Automotive Equipment (5,000 shekels).

Ron Levkovitch Co-Founder of the Epsilon Investment House (25,000 shekels) and Shlomo Rodav, former chairman pf some of Israel's biggest companies including Bezeq.

Gabbay, was Minister of Environmental Protection for the Kulanu party until May 2016, when he resigned in protest over the firing of defense minister Moshe Ya’alon. In December he announced that he was leaving Kulanu and joining the opposition Labor Party. Gabbay had been CEO of Bezeq before, joining politics.