Shelly Yacimovich once more takes reins as opposition leader

The former leader of Labor answers party chairman Avi Gabbay’s call for opposition leadership, replacing the ousted Tzipi Livni.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay appointed former party head Shelly Yacimovich on Tuesday evening as his representative in leading the opposition in the Knesset.

The position was left empty when he ended his partnership with Hatnuah that morning, dissolving the Zionist Union alliance that he and Hatnuah head Tzipi Livni created before the previous elections.

Livni assumed the role of Opposition leader when Gabbay was voted in as Labor chief in July 2017. As he is not a Knesset member, Gabbay cannot fill the position himself.

Gabbay praised Yacimovich, saying, “I am proud of Shelly, an excellent MK who leads determined struggles in the Knesset and beyond. Shelly is an example of a public emissary who is committed to change.”

The 58-year-old former journalist, radio anchor and political talk show host took the reins of the Labor Party in 2011, five years after jumping from the media into politics. She held the position for two years, serving as opposition leader for just over two months during 2012, when Kadima briefly joined a national unity government.

Politically, Yacimovich is a dove, but as a self-described social democrat, the main areas of her focus have always been in the social-economic sphere. She has been an active legislator during her 12 years in the Knesset, writing or participating in formulating dozens of laws, including those that protect women, consumers and employees.

In her tweet announcing her acceptance of Gabbay’s offer, Yacimovich stated, “It goes without saying that the main activity of the opposition chairman is during the term of the Knesset and not after its dissolution, but even under these circumstances, I promise to loyally and respectfully represent the entire opposition.”