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.
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.
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.
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.”
The former Labor MK and protest leader says her yet-to-be-named party will “sit in any government that respects its values, include that of Likud,” she says, though she rejects teaming up with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“I am calling for open primaries for the list, which would bring new energy to the camp and enable setting the list according to the will of the public and not a political deal among political hacks. I will continue to fight for our constituents who believed in our path to be represented in the Knesset.”
But just in case, Shaffir hired campaign staff in order to run independently as head of the Green Party, which would also include former Zionist Union MK Yael Cohen-Paran.
“Politicians who continue to behave like politicos who try all day long to disband camps and to make deals in closed rooms won’t receive a mandate from the public. That’s the reason why the left was weakened in the past and those are the people who threaten to finish it off.” She went on to say, “Our public deserves to decide in a quick and open primary who will represent it in the Knesset. We established the Democratic Camp and we deserve a democratic leadership like that all over the world.”
Protesters chanted „Bibi go home,“ and waved signs reading: „Netanyahu, let go already,“ „Netanyahu, you should quit“, and „The corrupt should go home“. MK Stav Shapir of the Democratic Camp, who was one of the organizers, said that protests will continue throughout the week in other cities as well, such as Be’er Sheva and Jerusalem.
Speaking to the press in Tel Aviv, the three leaders of the Democratic Union – MK Nitzan Horowitz, MK Stav Shaffir and former prime minister Ehud Barak – also took Blue and White to task for what they described as its right-wing policies, arguing that the party would not replace, but instead participate in, a right-wing government.
The united slate announced Thursday has the far-left Meretz party running with Barak’s new Israel Democratic Party and Stav Shaffir, who left the Labor Party, under the Democratic Camp moniker. It also hopes to bring Tzipi Livni, a former foreign minister, out of political retirement.
What it means: While Democratic Camp won’t overtake Netanyahu’s Likud and his right-wing camp, it could combine with the center-left Blue and White party to ensure that Benny Gantz, a former military chief of staff, is tapped to form the government.
Horowitz said the party would be left-wing and proud, and would not join any right-wing government, even one not led by Netanyahu. The top goal of the party in the agreement its leaders signed was reaching a peace agreement.
“The Israeli Left has returned to be large and influential, and the days of kissing up to the Right are over,” he promised.
Horowitz says alliance is ’setting out on a path that will lead to regime change in Israel‘; Barak, placed 10th on slate, vows to ‚give Netanyahu a fight,‘ while Shaffir calls for Israeli Arabs to see union as their allies
The newly formed “Democratic Union” said in a joint statement it would be made up of Barak’s “Democratic Israel” faction, the dovish Meretz party and senior Labor Party official Stav Shaffir.
„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.