After a long absence from the political scene, the Israeli Labour Party has a new leader, returning hope to a cause thought lost.
The last 12 years of Israeli politics have been dominated by Benjamin Netanyahu.
The right wing leader has continuously succeeded in forming coalitions with parties that only become more extreme with every election. In that time we’ve also seen the virtual extinction of the Israeli Labour Party, though Merav Michaeli is now working tirelessly to put the center left back on the political agenda.
A former journalist known for her strong feminist views, Michaeli is one of the only members of her party not to have joined Netanyahu’s government. She is firmly opposed to what she views as a divisive and hateful rhetoric.
Other members of the Labour Party have proved more opportunistic, however. Although not supporters of right-wing ideology, they witnessed the severe losses of their party and joined the winning camp in order to salvage the remains of their political careers. But not Michaeli.
Israël’s other priorities have eclipsed the real political issues of our modern era. Nowhere in the recent election campaign were there discussions on equality, religious freedom, or peace within the Middle Eastern region.
These issues are important and need to be at the forefront of policy-making. Michaeli highlights that much of the population, especially younger members, agrees with the need for a welfare state, more civic equality and LGBTQ+ rights. Going even further, she believes that the two state solution is still something Israël should be pursuing because the support is there, it just needs to be effectively harnessed.
First and foremost for Michaeli’s Labour Party is the removal of Netanyahu from power. Only then can people begin talking about the issues that really matter to Israël.