Former Mossad head to resurrect Pensioners Party for elections

Dani Yatom, who served in the Knesset with the Labor Party, expected to announce a return to politics.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

One of Israel’s top former security officials and former Knesset member, Dani Yatom, is expected to announce the establishment of a new center-right pensioners party in which he will run in the upcoming Knesset elections, Maariv reported Monday.

Yatom retired from a 33-year career in the IDF with the rank of major general to become the head of Israel’s  Mossad spy agency. He previously served in the Knesset from 2003 with the Labor Party before announcing his retirement from politics in 2008.

At the time, Yatom expressed his frustration at not being able to enact changes in the Knesset and his lack of influence as a junior legislator following years of holding some of the top security positions in the country, saying he “was not able to make the best use of [his] abilities.”

The Pensioners Party has existed in some form for the past 30 years, having its greatest success in the 2006 elections when it gained seven seats and major influence in the 120-seat Knesset, Israel’s parliament. However, since 2009 the party failed to gain enough votes for any representation in the house.

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Yatom has not made an official announcement, but on Saturday tweeted his “thanks to all the supporters, thanks for all the tips too,” adding “we will be focused, we will be businesslike, we will be original. Updates coming soon.”

The party has generally focused on issues relevant to Israeli senior citizens and, given Yatom’s military career, will also emphasize the proper care of Israeli military veterans, the report said.

On Tuesday, Yatom tweeted his first election related message, questioning why coronavirus vaccinations were given out Monday at Tel Aviv City Hall to several thousand school teachers, despite Health Ministry guidelines that vaccinations were for those over 60 and front line workers only.

“Why did the Huldai/Gamzu duo snatch vaccines [from] the senior citizens? Because elections, that’s why,” Yatom tweeted, referring to Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai who announced last week his new party, The Israelis, was running for the Knesset.

Gamzu, director of Tel Aviv’s Icholov Hospital that administered the vaccinations to the teachers, is the former head of Israel’s national coronavirus task force who has not yet said if he is running for the Knesset.