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Lior Zimche Elected Secretary General of the Kibbutz Movement

Zimche was CEO of the Israeli Cattle Breeders' Association and secretary of Kibbutz Netzer Sereni | The elections were held digitally for the first time, with thousands of kibbutz members evacuated from their homes

ליאור שמחה (צילום: אלבום פרטי)
Lior Zimche. (Photo: Private album)
By Maya Ronen

Tuesday’s elections for leadership of the Kibbutz Movement. This followed the counting of voting data for 250 of the 259 kibbutzim that participated in the elections, including more than 50 kibbutzim evacuated from the western Negev and the northern border.

Zimche will replace Nir Meir, who has served in the position since 2015. For the first time, voting was possible through digital means—through mobile devices or computers.

In a statement, Election Committee Chairman Jacob Dromi noted that 17,011 voters voted for Zimche and 14,480 members voted in favor of Hadas Daniely Yelin. This morning, the votes of the remaining 9 kibbutzim will be tallied.

The elections were held in the shadow of Israel’s war with Gaza, at the most painful time in the history of the Kibbutz Movement. On Oct. 7, 252 members and residents of kibbutzim near the Gaza Strip were murdered, and more than 140 members and residents were abducted and taken into the Gaza Strip. Dozens of kibbutzim in Israel’s north are also facing rocket fire from Lebanon.

In total, 56 kibbutzim from the western Negev and the northern border have been evacuated since Oct. 7. The number of people murdered in the terrorist attacks and the war that followed stands at 322 kibbutz members and residents.

About 64,500 members from the 259 kibbutzim of the Kibbutz Movement were eligible to participate. The total population of the kibbutzim currently numbers more than 190,000 people, a number that includes children, youth, soldiers, residents and new arrivals.

The next secretary of the Kibbutz Movement will be required to strengthen the relevance of the kibbutzim and the Kibbutz Movement in Israeli society, as well as to strengthen the kibbutzim themselves and the solidarity between them. In addition, the next secretary will need to deal with regulatory and economic challenges, and with the future of industry and agriculture in the kibbutzim and address land and construction issues. Furthermore, the secretary will need to address the social challenges relating to the nature of the kibbutz community, within it the communal character of sharing, solidarity and mutual responsibility.

The events of recent months have raised public awareness of the relevance of solidarity and collective responsibility within each kibbutz, between the kibbutzim, and between them and Israeli society.

Zimche, 46, a member of Kibbutz Netzer Sereni, has four children with his wife Carmell. Zimche holds a BA in economics and management and an MBA from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has previously served as CEO of the Israeli Cattle Breeders’ Association, secretary of Kibbutz Netzer Sereni, and senior member of the Adler Chomsky & Warsawasky Group—one of the largest media groups in Israel.

The losing candidate, Daniely Yelin, 50, is a member of Kibbutz Yagur, wife of Haran, and a mother of three. She served as deputy secretary general of the Kibbutz Movement from 2017-2022 under Nir Meir, as executive director of the Kibbutz Movement, as executive director of the Israel Women's Network and in other positions.

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