Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich declared on Thursday that she could lead her
party to defeat Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud, as other parties
worked to prepare their candidate lists for a national election expected to take
place on September 4.
According to Yacimovich, the vote will be
especially ideological, and the majority of the electorate favors Labor’s
“Netanyahu was not chosen by God; he will not
reign forever, and we cannot give up on the hope to replace him,” she
Recent surveys have shown Labor as the second-largest party.
According to a Dahaf Institute poll, Labor will get 17 seats in the next
Knesset. A Teleseker poll published in Ma’ariv on Thursday showed Labor with 18.
Both polls put Likud in the lead with 31 MKs.
Yacimovich pointed out that
a year ago, her party was polling at under 10 seats, saying that many voters may
return to Labor, and its meteoric rise could continue.
“We will not give
up on the aspiration to replace the most capitalist prime minister in Israel’s
history,” she said.
During last summer’s Labor Party leadership race,
Yacimovich faced criticism for saying the opposite – that the Labor faction was
not large enough for its leader to be a contender for prime minister.
Labor does not prove more popular than Likud, Yacimovich said, the party would
be willing to join the coalition, should it “make a significant socioeconomic
change and start the diplomatic process.”
Without those changes, she
said, Labor would continue to sit in the opposition.
isn’t Siberia,” Yacimovich quipped.
Meanwhile, the Likud is showing a
united front behind Netanyahu ahead of the party’s convention set for
Usually, the Likud convention elects a president, as well as the
heads of the party’s institutions. Netanyahu has decided to run for Likud
convention president for the first time, and was challenged by Government
Services Minister Michael Eitan and MK Danny Danon.
However, the Likud announced on Thursday that all of the party
institutions’ leaders will remain, and Welfare and Social Services Minister
Moshe Kahlon will remain Likud convention president.
The convention will
determine a date for the party primary to choose the order of its list of MK
candidates. Likud sources say the vote is expected to take place in early
Kadima continues to fight rumors that its MKs are fleeing for
greener pastures, in light of polls showing the party, which now has 28
lawmakers, getting as few as 10 seats in the next Knesset.
chairwoman Zehava Gal-On said in a radio interview on Thursday that Kadima MKs
had asked to run with her party, but she refused to give names.
Molla, one of Kadima’s most outspokenly left-wing MKs, denied that he plans to
jump ship, saying that he will remain in Kadima and is confident of his position
in the party.
“Everything else is a made-up story, speculation and an
attempt to generate headlines, and I am not responsible for that,” he
However, MK Nino Abesadze, also from Kadima, who is politically
like-minded, did not deny talks with Gal-On, saying only that this was the first
time a reporter asked her about Meretz.
When asked whether she was
committed to Kadima, Abesadze said: “No comment.”
Also on Thursday, the
Registrar of Political Parties publicized Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party’s
regulations, founders and goals.
The party’s regulations include a clause
keeping Lapid as leader until after the 20th Knesset, which could be as long as
eight years. In addition, Lapid alone can decide whether Yesh Atid will join the
Among the party’s 100 founders are poet Roni Somek;
Olympic judoka Yoel Razvozov, who is also a member of Netanya’s city council;
and Menahem Tzruya, the principal of the Naamat Technological High School in
Other founders of Yesh Atid include Lapid’s wife, journalist Lihi
Lapid; his mother, Shulamit Lapid, an author; and his son Yoav Lapid, as well as
what appears to be several of his son’s friends, as they live in the same
neighborhood and were born in 1987, as was Yoav Lapid. Lapid’s makeup artist and
the band leader from his talk show also signed the list.
Yesh Atid said
that the founders are not necessarily on the party’s candidates list for the
The goals listed by the party include “changing the order of
priorities in the country, emphasizing education, housing, health,
transportation and policing.”
Yesh Atid also seeks to change the system
of government, draft a constitution, require all students to study the Education
Ministry’s core curriculum and fight corruption.
The party also aims to
work toward a peace treaty that will bring two states for two nations, while
protecting large Israeli settlement blocs.
Meanwhile, the Legal Forum for
the Land of Israel called on the Central Elections Committee to insist that
Lapid cut his ties with Yediot Aharonot, saying that his relationship with the
paper could constitute an indirect violation of election and party financing
Lapid publishes a weekly column in one of Yediot’s weekend
supplements, for which the forum said he receives a fee.
In a letter to
Central Elections Committee chairman Supreme Court Justice Miriam Naor, the
NGO’s attorney Avital Tzachor said Lapid uses his column to “propagate his
political, economic and social platforms, and for election
Election campaigning is regulated by the 1959 Knesset
Elections Law (Propaganda Methods), which deals with limitations placed on
parties in terms of the propaganda they are allowed to publish in the 90-day
run-up to elections, and includes all types of party messages, including
“Consequently, given the purpose underlying the Elections
Law, the reality that Lapid continues to publish a weekly column in Israel’s
main newspaper – and which covers his political doctrine – is one that raises
concern about violating the law,” Tzachor said.
According to Tzachor, the
column is effectively an advertising campaign, and politicians from other
factions would have to pay a large fee for a similar campaign in the
high-circulation Hebrew daily.
By law, parties are not allowed to publish
more than 10,000 inches of advertisements in newspapers over the 90 days before
elections, and all advertisements must bear the name and address of the person
who ordered it, or the relevant parliamentary faction or list.
also argued that by allowing Lapid to publish his column, and promote his party
platform, Yediot Aharonot may also be in indirect violation of the Party
Financing Law (1973).