The Green Movement will likely be joining Tzipi Livni’s Knesset election list on Friday, after the party’s primary takes place that day, party co-chairman Prof. Alon Tal told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
The Green Movement Party, whose membership has doubled to 1,300 over the past four years, will be holding its primary on Friday in Tel Aviv, concluding in the early afternoon.
Prior to holding their own party vote, members will conduct a convention in which they will officially decide whether to become an independent faction on Livni’s list – a decision that Tal predicted would come out “favorable.”
“The Green Movement shares Tzipi Livni’s critique of the Netanyahu government’s mismanagement of Israel’s foreign policy and negotiations with the Palestinians,” Tal said.
“But perhaps more importantly, we also believe that this government’s economic and environmental policies are patently myopic and irresponsible, running counter to national interests.”
Livni, the former leader of Kadima, officially announced her political return on Tuesday with the creation of “The Tzipi Livni Party,” or “The Movement Led by Tzipi Livni” in Hebrew. So far six Kadima MKs have pledged to join her new party – MKs Shlomo Molla, Yoel Hasson, Majallie Whbee, Rachel Adatto, Robert Tibayev and Orit Zuaretz.
While the Green Movement has not revealed details of the actual proposed agreement with Livni, sources close to her have indicated that the party would gain at least one “realistic” place on her Knesset list, according to Tal. In addition, the party would be authorized to lead the list members in issues involving environment, transportation, energy, animal rights and planning, he said.
The Green Movement has been in close talks with Livni for several months, Tal added.
“We will look at polls very closely and that will determine where we sit. We of course would not want to join a party, lose our independence and not get into the Knesset,” Tal said.
“If we make an agreement to join a list it is because it serves the party’s interest.”
Green Movement members see Livni as a strong “alternative” to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, whom Tal criticized for promoting his capitalist agenda for economic gains while privatizing land and reducing biodiversity.
“As social gaps increase and equality of opportunity becomes a myth, as natural resources are sold off for a song to tycoons, with no national energy strategy in sight, public transport infrastructure still inadequate and biodiversity and open spaces in retreat, it is critical that there be a 180 degree change Israel’s public policies,” Tal said.
“We want to be replace the present government and believe that a partnership with Tzipi Livni might be the best way to be a part of that change.”
While Livni has acknowledged that, aside from being a vegetarian, she has not been all that active in environmental issues, she has been an eloquent speaker against privatization of land and would be a strong proponent of clean air and environmental education going forward, Tal stressed.
“We share a lot of values with her,” he said. “We want to establish some sense of solidarity with her and commitment to public resources.”
Tal emphasized that if party members had not thought they would be gaining an “environmental boost” out of joining with Livni, they would have never entered negotiations with her.
As far as the Green Movement itself goes, there are seven people currently vying for the two co-chair positions – one male, and one female.
While Tal said that he is the frontrunner out of the four candidates competing for the men’s spot, current co-chair Racheli Tidhar-Caner is going to have two serious challengers for the women’s spot.
The Green Movement contains dozens of local city council representatives across Israel who are eager to begin working on social and environmental issues on a national level, with formal Knesset representation, according to Tal.
During the 2009 Knesset election, the Green Movement ran on the same ticket as Rabbi Michael Melchior’s Meimad party. When questioned by the Post whether his party too is planning to join Livni’s list, Melchior said only that “we are in contact with her and we will see.”
“If we make a decision we will be sure to let you know,” he added.
Tal meanwhile called Meimad a “true ideological partner” with “a wonderful group of idealistic citizens” who share his party’s fundamental values.
“Melchior is a personal friend and a partner on a vast range of national issues,” Tal said. “We would be thrilled if Meimad should also be part of this new list infrastructure.”
By partnering with Livni, Tal stressed that he had no concerns about his party losing independence, as he and the other members would not be joining a group that diminished its ability to advance environmental and social issues.
“This move will actually strengthen the Green Movement.”Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.