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Histadrut Chairman Calls for Early Elections: "The Issue of the Hostages is Tearing Society Apart"

Arnon Bar-David at 'Yediot Ahronot' conference: "The Histadrut will be a partner in change through elections that will return the mandate to the people" | "If the issue of the hostages depends solely on the government, and it does not move forward with the deal, additional pressure can be exerted"

יו"ר ההסתדרות נואם בעצרת בכיכר החטופים (צילום: דוברות ההסתדרות)
Histadrut chairman Arnon Bar-David speaks at a rally in Tel Aviv’s Hostages' Square (Photo: Histadrut Spokesperson)
By Nizzan Zvi Cohen

"The issue of the hostages is the most significant concern at the moment, and the Histadrut does not stand idly by," said Histadrut Chairman Arnon Bar-David in remarks he made this week at the 'People of the State' conference hosted by Yediot Ahronot and Ynet. "The issue of the hostages is tearing society apart, and it needs to be resolved as quickly as possible. But waiting will not help."

According to Bar-David, it is impossible to evade the traumatic events of October 7, and "the responsibility lies with the decision-makers. The Histadrut, along with other significant bodies in the economy, are working to create a protest that will lead the government to elections. That's the path I'm taking.

"The Histadrut will partner with responsible entities that seek change. A change will come through elections that will return the mandate to the people. This is so that we can embark on a new path and build the country. I am not the Prime Minister, I am the head of the Histadrut, and we operate within a complex system and during challenging times. We are working to salvage what can be salvaged.

"This is the toughest period in the country's history," Bar-David added. "The past year has been turbulent, especially regarding the judicial overhaul, where we intervened and exerted influence with our limited capabilities. Even now, I'm doing what I can within the framework of organizational power. Regarding the hostages, which is the most pressing issue at the moment, we are leveraging the Histadrut's influence and doing what we can.

"As soon as the issue of the hostages becomes solely dependent on the Israeli government, and the government does not proceed with a deal, additional pressure can be exerted," Bar-David continued. "Currently, we are exerting all our influence on decision-makers. Even on matters the public is unaware of.

"My people in the Histadrut, those closest to me, are the ones who, among other things, established the Hostages and Missing Families Forum, and we led the solidarity event where we stopped for one hundred minutes. If I believed that shutting down the economy would cause the hostages to return, I would do it."

Continuing his remarks, he criticized the government's conduct and said that he does not trust the government. "The government does not operate and make decisions as it should across all sectors. I know where I'm taking the Histadrut, but I don't know where the Prime Minister is taking the country. For a while now, I have called for agreed-upon elections to halt the chaos in the country."

This article was translated from Hebrew by Matt Levy.

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