Welfare Minister bids farewell

Welfare Minister Itzik Shmuli has decided not to run for Knesset this time.

Shlomo Witty ,

איציק שמולי
איציק שמולי
צילום: Tomer Neuberg/Flash90

Welfare Minister Itzik Shmuli (Labor) announced this morning (Wednesday) that he will not run in the 24th Knesset elections.

"I have decided to take a break from politics to consider moving forward. I will also resign from my position in the government. Leaders must also know how to admit their mistakes and accept responsibility, and my heart tells me this is the right thing to do," Shmuli said.

The former minister explained that he had joined the Netanyahu government due to the coronavirus crisis: ''I was convinced that while a deadly plague was raging and the economy in disarray, joining the government was the right decision. I was mistaken. Leaders should know how to admit their mistakes and take responsibility. It is for that reason that I do not intend to run in the upcoming elections - neither in the Labor Party nor in other political positions that were available to me. I have decided to take a break from politics. My heart tells me that this is the right thing to do now, and it is far more important than staying on the bandwagon.”

Shmuli explained why he did not agree to run with Labor: “I have a difference of opinion about the party’s primaries. Nevertheless, I respect the democratic process and the decision that was made - and in light of the decision of the party institutions, I intend to resign as soon as possible from my membership in the government. I wish them all success and thank them for the position I have been privileged to hold.”

''I thank my friend, Benny Gantz, an honest leader who looks after the good of the state, for the opportunity I was given to serve as Minister of Labor and Welfare during such a difficult time. Thousands of Israelis are in a difficult position; I made it my mission to help, and succeeded. I am proud of what we have achieved in an impossibly short time: disability benefits, early childhood legislative reform, a historic agreement for social workers, more emergency centers open to women affected by violence, rehabilitation daycare centers for toddlers with special needs, existential safety nets for the welfare and older population, and so much more.”

''These populations, which have no voice or representation, have been my guiding principle in politics. For them, I have always fought, with all my might, even as a Member of Knesset: I pushed for stricter penalties for animal abuse, for life-saving treatment subsidies for children, promoting benefits and state nursing for adults, and a historic law to integrate people with special needs. I will always be proud of these accomplishments.”

Shmuli thanked the employees of the Ministry of Labor and Welfare and staff members at the National Insurance Institute. "You are all a source of immense pride for me - for your work and dedication in difficult times when millions of Israelis looked to state institutions for support. I thank my entire team; they are amazing people and close to my heart. I love you all wholeheartedly and leave with a clear conscience.”