Independence faction 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
When Defense Minister Ehud Barak and four political allies broke off from Labor
to form the Independence faction on January 17, they insisted the move was for
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Six months later, the party will start building its
ideological identity when its governing council convenes for its first working
meeting on Wednesday at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds.
The meeting comes a day
after the five Independence MKs – four of whom are ministers – flip-flopped over
how to handle the controversial boycott bill.
At first the ministers
wanted to back the bill, but party Chairwoman Einat Wilf and legal adviser Ari
Hillel persuaded them that the legislation went too far in enabling lawsuits
against individuals who instigate boycotts.
“I feel there is quickly
becoming less and less space for sane, centrist Zionism between right-wing
extremism and leftist post-Zionism,” Wilf said when explaining to the Knesset
her faction’s decision not to participate in the vote.
faction will continue to struggle for that space, defend it, and try to widen it
via the more moderate forces in and out of the coalition. This is an integral
struggle for the future of sane, centrist Zionism that Herzl and Ben-Gurion
preached,” she continued.
Wilf authored a one-page platform for the
party’s inaugural council meeting. Task forces of council members will be
appointed Wednesday to flesh out the platform on diplomatic, security,
socioeconomic, educational and environmental issues.
The council will
have some 80 members, including professors, mayors, and former Labor members who
fled to the Independence Party following reports about alleged corruption in
Labor’s membership drive.
In an effort to learn from Labor’s mistakes,
and not follow it into debt, the Independence Party will exist mostly
It will not invest in branches across the country, but it will
rent halls for party events and conduct its affairs via Facebook and its
website, which is still under construction.
The first sign that this will
be a different party will be when council members walk in Wednesday night and
are told to sign in on iPads.
“We intend to maximize new media in
building up the party,” Independence Director-General Oshi Almaliah said. “We
hope to build something technological and new.”