Victory for the pro-Netanyahu bloc might make him unstoppable, but the opposition’s impulse to depose the ruler could lead to some short-term pragmatism
Election Overdose podcast, episode 12, five days to go: Did Bibi’s handling of COVID-19 help or harm his electoral prospects ■ How the center-left opposition failed so miserably ■ Plus: Polls galore and last-minute surprises
Meretz is the first party in the center-left bloc that has officially announced its support for Lapid, while the Yesh Atid leader himself has avoided declaring his candidacy for the premiership.
Labor chairman Merav Michaeli and Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz have refused in recent weeks to pledge their support for Lapid.
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Corruption has become a strategic threat to Israeli society and democracy. It places political both personal and economic interests ahead of the needs of the public. It is also reducing the public’s confidence in government institutions and the democratic system. Public corruption eats away at equal opportunity and contradicts the loyalties and duties of elected officials and public servants. It undermines social cohesion, and hurts the quality of life of the citizens of the state and economic growth.
Our country needs to belong to the middle class and those struggling to be part of it and not ruled by corrupt politicians who busy themselves for their own benefit, for those with interests, the big corporations or big unions. For years there has been foul play in Israel serving interest groups, wealthy people and workers‘ committees. In this game billions of shekels have been transferred without transparency and without supervision. Politicians received empty and wasteful positions of honor such as the absurd role called „Minister without Portfolio“ just to be placated with a driver and office. Shady businessmen were appointed to direct government companies not because of skill, but only because of the connections.
“This is a catastrophic move,” the source continued, adding that when Kahol Lavan Chairman Benny Gantz “did something similar in the last election, we made sure to stop the campaign when the other parties hit six seats so as not to endanger the bloc.”
“Netanyahu failed, because he cared only about himself and not the state,” Yesh Atid wrote in the messages. “All those who took part in the bloated and wasteful government left Netanyahu in the Prime Minister’s Residence.“
The ex-military chief’s Blue and White political alliance won 33 seats in the March 2020 polls, before he fell just short of cobbling together a ruling 61-member coalition in the 120-seat legislature.
Weeks later, he shocked supporters by joining Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — his right-wing nemesis — in a precarious unity government, as a first wave of the coronavirus pandemic shook the country.
Yesh Atid will try to ratchet up pressure in the coming days on Kahol Lavan and Yaron Zelekha to quit the race, leaving to the left of Yesh Atid only Labor, Meretz and the Joint List. The departure of one or two slates from the bloc will increase the seats for the parties left standing and will help them pull in many floating votes.
Netanyahu will flaunt COVID vaccines and peace, Kahol Lavan might fall into oblivion and the Joint List is facing a split as Israel gears up for its fourth election in two years.