Nachman Shai, a former lawmaker and number eight on the Labor party’s list of candidates, made the announcement after the left-wing Meretz party made a similar proclamation earlier on Monday.
“We will recommend Yair Lapid… we think he can lead a coalition,” Shai told the Hebrew-language broadcaster. “For us, [Lapid] is the head of the bloc.”
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.
The bloc that wants Netanyahu to form the next government – Likud, Shas, UTJ and the Religious Zionist Party – received 46 seats.
The bloc that does not want him to remain prime minister – Yesh Atid, New Hope, Yisrael Beytenu, Labor, Blue and White and Meretz – received 54.
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.
The left must embrace Mara’ana and respect her opinions. She is married to a Jew, she joined a Zionist party – what more does Zionism expect of her? Other than collaborators, there are no Arabs who can feel any differently than she does. Neither is there a left wing except the kind that knows how to accommodate the positions of the members of the other people that lives here. Those who don’t stand up for Mara’ana are not left wing. They are right wing.
Labor was on the brink of extinction only a couple of weeks ago. Now it’s Meretz’s turn to signal polling distress. Why are Israel’s old parties of the left, once in power, now on life-support?
For now, opinion polls show that the left has no chance of defeating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Lawmakers Amir Peretz and Itzik Shmuli, by crawling into his government, have turned the Labor Party into a historical relic. Both Labor and Meretz have forgone primaries, leaving power in the hands of their leaders. There is no democracy in the parties of Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid either. This leaves Likud, embarrassingly, as the only democratic party.
Gantz has now destroyed his own credibility by joining Netanyahu’s coalition, so has Labor leader Amir Peretz. Lapid remains the only leader of a major party on the center-left. Netanyahu has no choice but to take him on. But while Lapid’s inexperience and dilettantism gives Netanyahu ample ammunition against the former chat-show host and columnist, it also creates a dilemma for him. Attacking Lapid with all guns blazing increases his popularity in the anti-Netanyahu camp, where many have had trouble taking Lapid seriously. Lapid, unlike Gantz, Gabbay and Herzog, is also prepared to follow Netanyahu into the mud.
Labor, Otzma Yehudit, Derech Eretz, Gesher and Bayit Yehudi all part of the right-wing coalition led by Netanyahu would not pass the electoral threshold (3.25%), according to the poll. Consequently, based on this poll, the right-wing bloc, would win a total of 60 seats, one short of a majority in the 120 seat Knesset.
The left put former generals at its helm and failed (they joined the right), as well as civilian personalities, who also failed to deliver the goods. It tried a decentralized model, with Labor and Meretz running separately, and hit a wall. It learned its lesson and ran as a united front of multiple parties (Labor and Meretz, Kahol Lavan), also meeting no success. It flirted with a post-Zionist concept and a state of all its citizens (Meretz) or, alternatively, highlighting its Zionist image (the Zionist Union), failing both times in garnering public support. …
Every day that passes provides more proof of the twisted state of Israeli democracy, in which a defendant under criminal indictment leads the government and is a candidate to form the next one.
Peretz’s decision to join the government does not dramatically alter the political balance, as there are only three Labor lawmakers in the new Knesset, and one of them, Merav Michaeli, might decide to defect to Meretz, which sits further left on the political specturm, if Labor joins Netanyahu.
Peretz said that he was still in touch with Orly Levy-Abekasis and was hoping to come to an accord regarding the steps to be taken in the future.
Levi-Abekasis decided on her own to opt for a political renewal and move from the right to the left. Naturally, her move triggered much suspicion, but she, Peretz and their partners dismissed these misgivings with disdain, even alleging anti-Mizrahi racism against anyone doubting that Levi-Abekasis had ideologically abandoned the right. After many efforts at convincing people, and based on the promises by the Labor-Gesher-Meretz alliance, people voted for the union she had joined.
Levi-Abekasis has the right to regret her transition.
But Orli Levi-Abekasis, a balloon inflated with self-importance, someone devoid of ideology, with no electoral clout, a deceiving scoundrel, robbed the center-left bloc’s voters of this rare opportunity, probably triggering a fourth election.
Joint List MK and Balad Chairman Mtanes Shehadeh said Saturday following Gantz and Netenyahu’s statements that „the arab community has spoken, they want a change in their position and aim for an end to discrimination and racism. Netanyahu would die to disqualify them but could not, and Gantz would have liked to ignore them but he couldn’t.“
“The disappearance of Labor and Meretz would mean the elimination of the only alternative on the left side of the political map,” writes my contemporary Uzi Baram (“Don’t be so quick to toss out the Zionist left,” Haaretz, January 20). And I ask him: Where were you and your friends during all those years when your camp held power in the country and paved the way for the extreme right that holds power today? They are only continuing the path you began, and doing so openly and also openly saying: “Truly the Lord has delivered all the land into our hands; and moreover all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of us.” But you did and you lied, you did and you deceived.
In contrast, the Joint List of Arab-majority parties did not conceal its satisfaction over the move. They sent their blessing to Meretz and Labor over the union, taking into account Israel’s larger political context, but also for probably boosting participation in the Arab electorate. “Members of the Zionist left who believe in Jewish-Arab partnership and in social justice are welcome to join the Joint List,” said Hadash MK Aida Touma-Sliman.
Former Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday welcomed the expected union between the Labor and Meretz parties, but expressed concern over the fact that Green Movement chairwoman Stav Shaffir was left out of the alliance.
Leaders of the Labor-Gesher and Meretz parties, Amir Peretz and Nitzan Horowitz, stood alongside each other as they announced their merger at a press conference held in Beit Sokolov in Tel Aviv on Monday evening.
“If you want to vote Right you can vote for Likud or Blue and White,” Horowitz said in a tongue-in-cheek manner, placing Benny Gantz’s alliance together with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing base.
It seems as if our leftist politicians have simply given up all hope, or pretense, of getting their act together.
Now they are looking to Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz, hoping he will be so kind as to stick his hand into the wading pool in which they are drowning, pull them out and sit them down nicely one next to the other.
Israeli Labor and Meretz parties are expected to discuss the possibility of running together in the upcoming Knesset election, say sources familiar with talks between the two parties.
Negotiating teams on their behalf – or the two leaders themselves – are expected to meet in the next few days, in advance of the deadline for formal submission of party slates to the Central Elections Committee, in nine days‘ time.
Meretz is even more vulnerable in the polls and is liable to pay the price. That’s why Peretz has allowed himself to stand on the sidelines and insist on realizing his dream. And therefore, he is the one who must pay the price for this reckless gamble.
The danger is clear and present. If either Labor or Meretz (in its present wrapping as the Democratic Union) do not make it into the next Knesset, the right will enjoy a crushing victory, with Netanyahu forming a coalition that will grant him immunity from facing trial while destroying the judicial system and annexing the West Bank.
The results of the last two elections, as well as recent opinion polls, show that these two parties, especially Meretz, face the risk of collapsing.
The leader, who has been indicted for bribery, is hysterically yet soberly and determinedly pulling out all the stops to save himself from having to face justice. In so doing, he continues endlessly to incite, to divide, to threaten to take credit for others’ achievements and to lie. He and his family are prepared to burn down the house, and with it the norms of public life in Israel. A century ago, the Irish poet W. B. Yeats bewailed the blindness of leaders who brought on the apocalypse of World War I:
“The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”
On Wednesday, Labor’s convention will meet to approve retaining Labor’s existing Knesset ticket – which includes a partnership with MK Orli Levi-Abekasis’ Gesher party – aside from one change that has infuriated some Labor Knesset members: Peretz will be allowed to put two additional candidates of his own choice in the ticket’s top 10 slots.
Belonging to the left means holding a wide-ranging worldview, based on the belief that all humans are born equal, worthy of equal and fair treatment. This is why the left fights for weaker segments of society, for laborers and for migrants. This is why a true left must fight for people who are living under an occupation that deprives them of the most fundamental rights while preventing them from fulfilling their national aspirations of living in a state of their own, alongside Israel.
Arnon (Noni) Mozes, the publisher of Israel’s largest daily newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, is indicted for bribery in Case 2000, and Shaul and Iris Elovich are indicted for bribery, obstruction of justice and obstruction of the investigation.
In February, the attorney general announced that he was closing the cases against several other suspects in the Netanyahu cases; among them were the premier’s wife Sara, Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan and Knesset member Eytan Cabel (Labor-Gesher).
In principle, the candidate whom the president grants the right to form a government does not need a majority of 61 to do so. All that is really needed is a situation in which more hands vote in favor of the government than oppose it.
MK Ofer Shelah of Kahol Lavan, who was interviewed after Tibi, said he did not rule out such a proposal.
It could have ended far worse. If Netanyahu had won a few more Knesset seats, he would have secured immunity from prosecution, set up the most extreme government in Israeli history and finished his demolition derby of the country’s democracy. A rare convergence of favorable circumstances – chiefly the uptick in Arab voter participation, the failure of Kahanist Otzma Yehudit and the indifference of Likud voters – combined to spare Israel from a disaster that would have changed the country forever.
In the process, Netanyahu has successfully relegated what was supposed to be the central issue of this election – his alleged corruption and prospects of indictment – to the sidelines. He has deftly shifted the focus of the campaign to his fortes in national security and foreign affairs. Come what may, he has proven once again that he is the undisputed heavyweight champion of Israeli election campaigns, making his rivals look like clueless amateurs in comparison.
As a young Israeli studying abroad, I recently came home for a visit eager to discuss the upcoming elections with family and friends – but found an atmosphere of utter apathy. So I decided to go find people who were actually getting involved, and that’s how I ended up meeting Elisheva and her fellow protestors.
His victory hangs on the fates of racist Otzma and leftist Labor – and on right-wingers coming out in droves while leftists go to the beach
A large majority (76%) of those surveyed supported Hadash MK Ayman Odeh’s declaration last Friday, August 23, that he would join a moderate-center government; 65% of those asked expressed their full support for the Joint List joining a coalition headed by Kahol-Lavan (Blue & White); and 20% responded they neither support nor oppose the such a move.
Youssef Makladeh, the CEO of Statnet, told Maariv: “This isn’t new; past surveys have indicated that the Arab community in Israel is more interested in more pragmatic leadership that will work towards solving more acute issues, such as curbing the spread of violence, [achieving] building permits [for Arab towns], [developing local] infrastructure and sewage management [for their places of residence].” Makladeh added, “For the first time in a decade, an Arab leader has thrown the ball into the court of the Jewish parties.”
The final deadline for Israel’s political parties to submit their lists of Knesset candidates for the September 17 election is in ten days. Center-left voters and their leaders depict the election as crucial, vital and even existential. Benjamin Netanyahu’s reelection, they claim, could spell the end of Israel’s liberal democracy, as we’ve known it.
Nonetheless, as the clock nears midnight, the center-left is on the brink of implosion.
The general election will take place on September 17, and Netanyahu’s pre-indictment hearing is set for October 2 and 3.
Peretz also characterized his joining forces last week with Orli Levi-Abekasis, chairwoman of the Gesher party, as “a chance to win,” otherwise Labor would suffer “sure defeat.”
The fact that Shelly Yacimovich, a leader and symbol of Labor for the last decade and a half, has decided to take a break from politics is another sign of the desperate condition of the party as another election approaches. “I can’t do it anymore,” she wrote, paraphrasing Menachem Begin. But it isn’t just her. The Labor Party itself can’t do it any more, not on its own.
Labor chief Avi Gabbay announces he will not run in the next election, and will leave politics.
Nonetheless, Gabbay said he is not leaving the party and intends to reserve the No. 2 spot on the party’s slate, which had been occupied by Tal Rousso, for himself in the next election.
„The present need calls for a big and significant left-wing bloc alongside the center,“ said Zandberg, repeating a similar call she made before the last election, which Gabbay rejected after polls held by both parties at the time showed a merger wouldn’t increase their total number of seats.
Zandberg’s rushed proposal also signals to left-wing voters that if such a union never comes, the fault would rest with Labor.
Other Labor member do not support a union with Meretz. „In the Labor Party’s current condition, we need to join Kahol Lavan and run on a joint slate,“ said one of the party’s lawmakers.
‚You never know which circumstances you’ll find yourself in,‘ party leader tells Channel 12, arguing he hadn’t lied to his voters in holding coalition talks with the premier
Labor in 2017 named as its leader Avi Gabbay, a millionaire who made his money at the helm of Israel’s largest telecom provider.
Just a year earlier, Gabbay had been a minister in Netanyahu’s cabinet for a small centrist party he had helped found. Gabbay’s appointment as Labor’s leader has turned off many in that party, who are now calling for his removal.
What is going on in our political system ahead of the upcoming election can be described like this: Right A versus Right B, a split in Right C, a possible merger in Right D, and a new glimmer of hope in Right E.
Meretz and the Joint List, the only Israeli left there is, one small and fading and the other ostracized and excluded, and both without any influence, look on from the other side of the fence. And still people say that Israel is “polarized,” that we’re this close to civil war breaking out. It’s hard to think of anything more ridiculous.
In humiliating announcement, as Livni looks on and cameras roll, Labor chairman questions Hatnua head’s loyalty, says the two have failed to maintain ‘mutual support’
A Labor lawmaker, who asked to remain anonymous, said that „time will tell whether dismantling Zionist Union was a smart move. But it shouldn’t have been done as a public humiliation to Livni.“
A senior source in Livni’s Hatnuah party said that she „thwarted a split in the Labor Party last week.“
“Young people had hopes of being integrated, but they were cold-shouldered by the state. Now, if a continuing effort is made to push us Arabs into a corner, we will be close – heaven forbid – to a confrontation between Arabs and Jews. And now it’s not a small minority: The Arabs constitute 22 percent of the country.”
What will a confrontation like that look like?
“The Arab MKs will resign. The heads of the Arab local councils will go the headquarters of the Union of Local Authorities in Tel Aviv and give back the keys, and a civil revolt will gradually develop. I pray and hope that I am wrong, but there will be chaos and violence here. I heard that my resignation was reported on the BBC. Do you realize what will happen if all the Arab MKs resign?”