Hundreds of thousands of Histadrut labor federation members will decide on Tuesday whether incumbent chairman Ofer Eini will stay on for another term or be replaced by challenger Eitan Cabel, a Labor Knesset member.
Polls for the half-a-million members at more than 2,000 voting stations around the country opened at 8 am and will close at 10 pm.
Cabel's chances appear slim, as he is backed by only a few of the roughly 400 labor unions in Israel.
Poised for another term. Eini (Photo: Ben Kelmer)
"My vision is to see a large federation that cares for all of the citizens' needs – from daycare to the cost of the living," the MK said. "If by the end of my five years in office the public does not feel the need to launch a social protest - then I will know have not achieved my goals.
'Federation did nothing for pensioners.' Cabel (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
"People want a change, but they fear the system. They fear that their livelihood will be compromised," he said during a visit to Netanya last week. "The federation under Eini did nothing for the pensioners, so it is important that we get them to the polling stations."
Eini, on his part, appeared calm ahead of the vote. Speaking to Ynet, he said "people aren't stupid. They know what we've done for them over the past five years and are familiar with the agreements we reached for the benefit of the workers.
"Why do I have so much support in the unions? Because all the agreements I reached (with the government) resulted in wage increases and better working conditions. Some 76% of Israelis believe the labor federation is the strongest organization in the country. It wasn't when I took office," he said.