Opinion |

The Next Labor Head Will Bury the Party

Labor Party leaders in Tel Aviv, June 29, 2019.
Labor Party leaders in Tel Aviv, June 29, 2019. Credit: Dudu Bachar

Scheduled for Tuesday is the year’s most unimportant event: the Labor Party’s leadership primary. On Sunday, Rakefet Russak-Aminoach announced her resignation as president and CEO of Bank Leumi, and there’s a connection between the two.

The Labor contest is ostensibly aimed at determining who will fill the lofty post of party chairman, but practically speaking it will choose the person who will be shutting down the party. There’s no room in the space between Meretz and Kahol Lavan for the Labor Party, especially now that Ehud Barak has formed a party, too.

>> Read more: Fire and Ice: Inside the battle to lead Israel’s troubled Labor Party

Labor was once a classic center-left party. It knew how to take care of the weak, but it also favored a free economy and budgetary responsibility. Most of its voters were coming from the bourgeoisie middle class in the larger cities. But in 2015 the party was taken over by a gang of Marxist-populist revolutionaries, who took it to the extreme economic left. This was a group that wants to always, in any situation, increase government intervention in the economy, strengthen the large unions, increase budgets, increase oversight and regulation, and add personnel to the public sector – at the expense of the private sector. They are always seeking to raise taxes, fees, local real estate taxes and customs duties and levies, and a large deficit doesn’t bother them in the least. This is a gang that is pro-nationalization and anti-privatization, that hates the private sector and that calls entrepreneurs “pigs.”

We’re talking about Shelly Yacimovich, Stav Shaffir, Itzik Shmuli, Merav Michaeli, Miki Rosenthal, Michal Biran and Yossi Yonah, who engineered a hostile takeover of the party during the 2015 election campaign. In the April 2019 election they led it to the brink of the electoral threshold (only six Knesset seats), and now they are about to totally destroy it. Middle-class voters are simply fleeing from this extreme group. Once they fled to Yesh Atid, then they fled to Kahol Lavan, and now they’ll run even further afield.

This week Russak-Aminoach announced her resignation from Leumi’s management; the CEOs of Bank Hapoalim and Israel Discount Bank also resigned before her. Preceding them were the most talented executives of the large insurance companies. The main reason for these resignations was the scandalous legislation pushed through by Yacimovich and her friends to limit salaries in the financial sector, which was aided and abetted by another free-spending populist named Moshe Kahlon.

That’s how Marxism works: The politicians determine everything, including compensation in the financial sector, without differentiating between large and small, without considering success or failure. It will work here as well as it worked in the former Soviet Union.

That’s how Israel has turned into the only country on earth (except for glorious North Korea) that limits salaries by law. Now let there be no mistake here; we should intervene in the bank’s excessive wages, but in proportional, economic ways to be determined by the Israel Securities Authority, as is customary elsewhere in the world. But our Marxists acted with a legislative sledgehammer and caused a wave of resignations, exactly as this writer had predicted.

Now the banks and the insurance companies will be run by D-level executives without status and experience, which is a big problem for savers and those with pensions. It also poses a real risk to the stability of the banks and insurance companies that hold our deposits. When a crisis hits, you need the best and most experienced managers at the helm, but they’ve already fled.

Yacimovich, the leader of the Marxist gang, is the one who led the party from failure to failure, and the one thing she succeeded at – the salary restriction law – has caused terrible damage. It’s time for her to leave politics and do for her own household. Even her former chief of staff and protégé, Yair Fink, has fled the sinking ship.

Labor voters of old know very well that if Yacimovich and her friends reach positions of power, they will cause a deep economic crisis, destructive poverty and severe unemployment. That’s why they are no longer voting Labor. It’s also the reason that the chairman elected Tuesday will be the one to shut the lights over the dead horse.

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