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Minister Itzik Shmuli says he won’t seek Labor Party leadership

Welfare Minister Itzik Shmuli speaks during a ceremony at the ministry's headquarters in Jerusalem on May 18 2020. (Shlomi Cohen/Flash90)
Welfare Minister Itzik Shmuli speaks during a ceremony at the ministry's headquarters in Jerusalem on May 18 2020. (Shlomi Cohen/Flash90)

Welfare Minister Itzik Shmuli says he won’t run in the upcoming Labor leadership primaries and that he has decided to leave the center-left party.

“This isn’t an easy decision for me. This party is a home for me… It’s basic and binding values will continue to accompany me, but I’ll lead their implementation from another political place,” Shmuli writes on Twitter.

He also calls for an alliance of parties whose chief goal will be replacing Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Shmuli previously ran in the Labor leadership primaries in July 2019, finishing third behind Amir Peretz and Stav Shaffir.

Peretz, the Knesset’s longest-serving member, announced he would step aside as a Labor leader and earlier this month said he won’t run in the upcoming elections.

Shmuli’s announcement comes a day after former Labor prime minister Ehud Barak also said he wouldn’t run to lead the party, which ruled Israel during its first 30 years and remained a dominant force in the country’s politics until several years ago, but has lost virtually all of its support. Recent opinion polls predict it will fail to enter the Knesset on its own.

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