Teachers’ union head Randi Weingarten endorses Stav Shaffir ahead of Israeli election


(JTA) — Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, endorsed liberal Israeli lawmaker Stav Shaffir ahead of Israel’s election in April.

“Stav is one of the most, if not the most, effective ambassadors to America that Israel has,” Weingarten said in a video published by Shaffir’s campaign Thursday. “She brings with her not just a passion for progressive Zionism but for what that represents: a shared society, peace and security for all, a fight against racial bigotry, a fight against economic inequality and a fight for the kind of Israel that all of us have always looked up to.”

Shaffir, a former leader of Israel’s 2011 mass protests against a high cost of living, has been a lawmaker for Israel’s Labor party since 2013. She is an outspoken opponent of economic inequality and advocate of transparency in government. She spoke at the 2016 convention of Weingarten’s union.

The Labor party will hold its primary elections on Feb. 12.

Weingarten, who is Jewish, has remained a liberal supporter of Israel even as the country has fallen out of favor with other segments of the left.

“I grew up believing that Israel was an inclusive, democratic Jewish state that you needed to fight for, but inclusive and democratic was as important as Jewish,” she told JTA last year. “And just like the work that we do in America can make things more inclusive, more focused on justice, more focused on opportunity, that’s the work that I try to do in terms of Israel.”

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