Michaeli does not give reason for decision to quit politics

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a former political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

Labor party chief Merav Michaeli casts her ballot at a voting station in Tel Aviv on November 1, 2022 (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Labor party chief Merav Michaeli casts her ballot at a voting station in Tel Aviv on November 1, 2022 (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Labor leader Merav Michaeli does not offer an explanation for why she decided to quit her ailing opposition party’s leadership now, only saying that she hopes the internal primary will presage a broader general election in 2024.

“The State of Israel is currently in a major crisis. Out of this terrible rupture, Israel needs to have a new beginning, a restart. And for that to happen, elections must be held, and I am convinced that Israel will go to elections in 2024,” Michaeli says in a statement to the press in Tel Aviv.

Although recent polling shows a marked decrease in public support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government amid its failure to prevent Hamas’s brutal October 7 terror attack and the war it triggered, the government can only be brought down by defection from within the coalition.

“I have no intention of running in the primaries for party leadership and I will not run for a place on the Labor list for the next Knesset either. I will, though, be here to do everything to hand over the steering wheel to the next leader of the party in the best way, for the good of rebuilding the party and our beloved country,” she says.

Labor shrank to the Knesset minimum of four seats in the November 2022 election. Michaeli is also widely blamed for the collapse of Israel’s political left after she steadfastly refused to merge election slates with the Meretz party.

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