Israel’s Kamala Harris? Tamano-Shata Gantz’s #2

Written by on February 3, 2021

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz has decided to place Aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata second on the Blue and White list for the March 23 election, sources in the party told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday.

The sources said that Gantz was inspired by US President Joe Biden’s decision to select Kamala Harris as his vice presidential running mate.

Tamano-Shata is Israel’s first Ethiopian-born cabinet minister. She was a member of Yesh Atid before defecting to Blue and White.

Gantz and Tamano-Shata will be followed on the list by ministers Chili Tropper, Michael Biton, Orit Farkash-Hacohen and Alon Schuster.

“Following the elections, we will make sure that a government is formed with honest people that will rehabilitate the economy and society from the harm of coronavirus and Bibi,” Gantz said as he registered the party with the Central Elections Committee.

Current ministers Omer Yankelevitch (Blue and White) and Itzik Shmuli (Labor) turned down offers to run with Blue and White and decided to quit politics. Yankelevitch will remain a minister until the next government is formed, while Shmuli will quit immediately.

Shmuli announced on Wednesday morning that he will be taking a break from politics, ending weeks of speculation about his future. He will be quitting his cabinet post as welfare and social services minister, in addition to social equality minister, as Labor Party institutions had decided.

In a Facebook post, Shmuli wrote that he erred when he joined Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.

“Leaders need to know to admit when they made a mistake and take responsibility,” Shmuli said. “My heart has instructed me that this is the right thing to do.”

The lists of Yesh Atid, Yisrael Beytenu and Yamina were also submitted to the Central Elections Committee on Wednesday.

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid will be followed by MKs Orna Barbivai, Meir Cohen, Karin Elharar and former Blue and White minister Merav Cohen.

The next candidates on the list are MKs Yoel Razbozov, Elazar Stern, Mickey Levy, former Kulanu MK Merav Ben-Ari and MK Ram Ben Barak.

Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman will be followed by MKs Oded Forer, Evgeny Sova, Eli Avidar and Yulia Malinovsky.

Yamina’s list will be headed by party leader Naftali Bennett, then faction head MK Ayelet Shaked, Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi, MK Matan Kahana and the founder and head of the Tavor leadership academy Amichai Chikli.

Bennett surprisingly put former Bayit Yehudi director-general Nir Orbach sixth on the list, followed by “I Am Shulman” movement leader Abir Kara and former MK Idit Silman. No. 9 on the list, Shirley Pinto, is a deaf Israeli activist, known for her work with the disabled. No. 10, Shai Maimon, heads a social media rapid response team.

No. 16 on the list, Jeremy Saltan, a Bennett adviser involved in Israeli public diplomacy, was born in Chicago.

The candidates have been promised that the party will support retention of the Norwegian Law which could help candidates further down the list enter the Knesset.

Yamina chose the letter yod to represent the list at polling stations. The party decided against a legal fight with the Religious Zionist Party and Bayit Yehudi for the tet-bet letters it ran under in the last election.

Tamar Beeri contributed to this report.

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