The Labor Party, Yisrael Beytenu, and Yesh Atid welcomed new candidates to their election lists on Wednesday.
Labor added two contenders, one with expertise in socioeconomic matters and the other a former military man, while Yisrael Beytenu snatched up Yair Shamir, the son of former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir. Attorney Karin Elharar is also set to join Yesh Atid, the party of former news presenter Yair Lapid.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, the founder and chairman of Yisrael Beytenu, announced Tuesday that Shamir would run on his party’s ticket. Shamir was given the No. 2 spot on the party’s list.
Shamir, who recently served as head of the Israel Aerospace Industries and sat on El Al’s board of directors, said he felt he should run for politics to bring some real-life experience to the Knesset.
“Many of the people here [in the Knesset] live in a bubble and don’t understand that there’s another world outside of it,” said Shamir, “not to mention that you send people who have never even sold a used car to conduct negotiations.”
Shamir’s platform centers around socioeconomic issues, particularly housing matters.
Shamir said he and Liberman have “good chemistry” but that they don’t agree on all issues, including the minister’s principle of land and population swaps (known as the populated-area exchange plan) between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
“Liberman and I are not the same person,” Shamir stated. “Even he doesn’t view the notion of land swaps as a solution [to the conflict], but sees it as a last resort — and I’m not sure that he thinks about it the same way he did when the idea was first presented,” Shamir said. “I don’t think it’s a good idea.”
Meanwhile, Hili Tropper, a school principal who ran an institution for high school dropouts, and retired colonel Omer Bar Lev, who was commander of the Sayeret Matkal elite commando unit, said they would run on the Labor list. Their announcement came during a meeting with the party’s head, Shelly Yachimovich.
Labor scored another elite member of the security establishment earlier in the week by attracting Maj. Gen. Uri Sagi, a former commander of the Golani Brigade and former head of the IDF intelligence branch. Social protest leaders Stav Shaffir and Itzik Shmuli, as well as the head of Peace Now, Yariv Oppenheimer, all recently announced their candidacies for the Labor list in the upcoming race. High-tech entrepreneur Erel Margalit also stated last week that he intends to run on the Labor lineup.
Former news presenter Lapid also picked up another candidate, attorney Elharar, after adding to his roster Adi Koll, who created and heads Tel Aviv University’s “Access for All” program, which offers marginalized groups (such as immigrants, battered women, and at-risk youths) special introductory courses taught by students.
Raphael Ahren contributed to this report.