Omer Bar-Lev
Omer Bar-Lev Flash 90

MK Omer Bar-Lev (Zionist Union) announced his intention to run for the leadership of the Labor party Friday morning.

''I am announcing my candidacy for the Labor leadership, and I will win," Bar Lev said in an interview with the Hebrew newspaper Yediot Aharonot.

Bar-Lev is a retired IDF Colonel, who commanded the elite Sayeret Matkal commando unit. He also founded the 'Acharai' (Follow Me) movement, which works to reduce gaps between Israeli citizens in outlying communities and those in the center of the country and runs programs to help young people prepare for high school matriculation exams and the army.

"Each chapter in my life was of fifteen years duration, and I excelled at all of them," Bar-Lev said. "Five years ago I felt that Israel was deviating from the right direction, on social issues, economic issues, and political issues, and I joined a political [party]. Since I have no intention of sitting in the opposition for 15 years, I decided to run for the Labor leadership in order to organize and lead the center-left, because in all the stations in my life I have stood at the top of the pyramid. People trust me and follow me because they know that I'll never abandon them," he added.

When asked what advantage he has over other candidates for the party leadership, such as Yitzhak Herzog, Shelly Yachimovich, Eitan Cabel, and Erel Margalit, Bar-Lev said: "I am the one who can lead Labor and restore it as the party that deals with the future of Israel and its security, after some 55,000 members have lost confidence in our ability to bring about change in the party and in Israel."

He said that Labor must focus on security again, as that is the issue that citizens care about the most, and it is the issue which he believes lost the Zionist Union the last election.

"If we can't provide the citizens with the feeling that they can trust us not to abandon them, they will not vote for us. I will restore their self-confidence."

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