Former Labor leader Yachimovich pulls out of Knesset election

The former journalist says that she is taking a break from political life for personal reasons.

By World Israel News Staff 

Saying that her son had told her that she was no longer having an impact on the political discourse, Labor Party MK Shelly Yachimovich has decided to “take a break” from political life and will not run in the September 17 Knesset election.

The 59-year Yachimovich made the announcement Tuesday, calling it a “personal” matter and saying that the decision was the result of a “long process.”

A former journalist, she announced in 2005 that she was entering politics. She joined the Labor Party and served as its leader from 2011 to 2013.

Her emphasis was on socio-economic issues. In a country which has given fiscal preference to military matters, Yachimovich raised the financial well-being of the average Israeli to a higher rung on the national agenda.

Though left-wing in her political views, she stood alongside evacuees from the Gaza pullout in 2005, accusing the government of not taking good enough care of the residents in the eviction process.

Perhaps as part of her anti-establishment persona, she has stated that she takes pride in never becoming a cabinet minister, though part of the reason is also that Labor never led a government during her years in politics.

MK Amir Peretz, the recently-elected Labor chairman, thanked Yachimovich for her service. MK Stav Shaffir, a socio-economic fighter encouraged to enter politics by Yachimovich, called her departing mentor a “super-legislator for the weak.”

In an interview on Kan public radio on Wednesday, Yachimovich said that she still believed in the Labor Party, once a leading party in Israel, though it suffered an unprecedentedly poor showing in April’s election, winning only six seats in the 120-member parliament.