Introducing Amir Peretz's latest recruit: President of the Ben-Gurion University in the southern town Beer Sheva, Avishai Braverman.
Braverman, who announced his enlistment to the Labor party Thursday, is one of Israel's leading economists and a natural candidate for a financial role in any future government that will include Labor.
He holds a postgraduate degree from Stanford University, served as a senior economist at the World Bank during the 80s, and took part in drafting the bank's policy in second and third-world countries. Braverman has continued his involvement in Israel's economy even after he took up his position at the southern university.
He is the architect of the government's recent program for reform in the reserve service. Last year he served as arbitrator in the dispute between the Ramat Hovav chemical factories and the Ministry of the Environment, which resulted in a reduction in pollution rates caused by the industrial council.
Braverman was also the man who persuaded the government to erect a train station near his university.
'Radical transformation needed'
The university's president is a renowned fundraiser, with contacts within the local and the international business communities. He has regularly used his ties to raise money for the university, the city of Beer Sheva and numerous other social projects at the southern Negev region.
Analysts in the press have often described him as "Israel's number one expert on fundraising."
However, Braverman's financial relations did not prevent him from adopting a social-democratic worldview. Speaking at a panel on the financial reforms in Israel last year, Braverman stated that "Israel has started to resemble a third-world country, with polarization between wealthy elite, an eroding middle class and wide-spread poverty."
Addressing another economic conference, he said: "Yes, we will have growth, but what will become of the unemployed?"
"The current capitalism is guilty of patronization and excessiveness. It has lost its humanism and may also lose its validity as a preferred model for economic life," Braverman said in interview to Israel's leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth in the past.
"Israel should undergo a radical inner transformation. The problems of American capitalism are dwarfed in comparison to ours. The glue that has held Israeli society together in the past no longer works," Braverman said in the interview.