Social protest leader aims for the Knesset

Stav Shaffir seeks Labor Party seat

Stav Shaffir attends a discussion in the Knesset in February (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Stav Shaffir attends a discussion in the Knesset in February (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Prominent social protest movement leader Stav Shaffir has decided to trade in her picket sign for a leather couch, announcing on her Facebook page Friday that she would run for a spot in the Labor Party’s list in the upcoming elections.

A former journalist and one of the core members of the mass social protest movement that made waves in Israel during the summer of 2011, Shaffir said it’s now “time to move from protest to political action.”

“During the months of the protest, and to this very day, I believe that the protest was, by its nature, political and will continue to be political. The tens of thousands of people who took to the streets in the summer of 2011 came out to demonstrate against an insupportable social and economic reality that is the direct result of governmental policy and political decisions made by elected officials,” Shaffir wrote.

Explaining her decision to run for a spot on Labor’s list, Shaffir said that “Since [Labor chairwoman] Shelley Yachimovich was elected to lead the party, and even before the beginning of the social protests, the Labor Party has worked to advance an agenda of social and economic justice. It is committed to the social-democratic ideals in which I believe and which I view as the core values of the social protest movement.”

Shaffir is the first, but probably not the last of the social justice movement leaders to enter mainstream politics. Other people who have been named as possible contenders are Profesor Yossi Yonah, who is also eyeing Labor, and Student Union chairman Itzik Shmuli, who has reportedly been courted by several parties.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Thursday that elections would be held on January 22, 2013, nine months ahead of schedule. A date has yet to be set for Labor Party primaries.


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