Yachimovich Quits, Half the Labor Slate Gone

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A giant roadside election campaign poster showing Labor party leader Amir Peretz at the entrance to Karnei Shomron. (Sraya Diamant/Flash90)

Senior Labor party MK Shelly Yachimovich announced on Monday that she is taking leave of politics for an indefinite time, alluding to personal reasons for the decision.

With her departure, half of the Labor leadership has gone. She becomes the third of the current six Labor MKs to quit the party since the April elections, preceded by former Labor chairman Avi Gabbay and number two on the list, former general Tal Russo.

“I intend to take a break from politics and not to serve in the next Knesset,” she said in an online posting.

“I have exhausted my effectiveness,” she said, adding that she does not intend to defect to any other party, and will continue to support Labor.

Labor chairman Amir Peretz thanked Yachimovich for her service to the country and the party. He praised her social-democratic values and said he was sure she would continue to impact the lives of Israeli citizens from outside politics.

Labor MK Stav Shafir responded on her Twitter account: “What is Israeli politics without Shelly? Politics without the number one fighter for workers’ rights, a supreme legislator for the weak, the most acerbic writer and leader who fights against injustice, a courageous, moral compass at many intersections and for me personally.”

Newly-elected Meretz chairman Nitzan Horowitz said: “I heard about the retirement with sorrow, and I call on Yachimovich to reconsider her decision, “Horowitz said in an interview with Army Radio.

Yachimovich, 59, left her journalistic career to enter politics in 2006 at Peretz’s request. She served as Labor leader from 2011 to 2013.

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