Less than three weeks after his election as leader of the Labor Party, Amir Peretz faced a rebellion on Sunday by his runner-up in the race, MK Stav Shaffir.
Shaffir protested Peretz's decision to sign a deal with Gesher party Orly Levy-Abecassis instead of Meretz and former prime minister Ehud Barak’s Israel Democratic Party. She vowed to prevent the Labor-Gesher deal from passing at next week's Labor convention and to instead pass a resolution pushing for Peretz to seek unity on the Left.
"To the Left of the large Blue and White there are three parties, and without mergers, one or two simply won't cross the electoral threshold," Shaffir wrote on Facebook. "Precious mandates of the public we represent will go to the trash and Bibi [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] will win the election on a silver platter."
Shaffir accused Peretz of breaking his campaign promise to seek bonds with parties on the Left and instead making the deal with Gesher, which was approved by Labor's executive committee on Sunday..
"I respect Peretz and under normal circumstances would accept his decision," Shaffir said. "But these are not normal days. We are in times of emergency."
Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz also stepped up his attack on Peretz on Sunday, saying that he “spit in the face of his voters” by signing a deal with Levy-Abecassis, who is a former Yisrael Beytenu MK, instead of Meretz.
Horowitz told KAN radio that since Labor’s deal with Gesher was announced on Thursday, angry Labor activists have been coming to Meretz.
Meretz MKs met Sunday to debate whether to seek a political bond with former prime minister Ehud Barak’s Israel Democratic Party or the Arab-Jewish Hadash party or run alone in the September 17 election.
Hadash party leader Ayman Odeh told Army Radio that his top priority was recreating the Joint List of four Arab parties that ran together in 2015 but he did not rule out joining Meretz instead.
Peretz firmly ruled out seeking additional bonds with Meretz or Barak on Sunday. He said he made the decision, because he believes it will help woo right-wing voters and defeat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“There is no chance to connect to Barak or Meretz, because connecting with them will build walls preventing sectors who want to connect to us and to be part of the upheaval,” Peretz told Army Radio.
While Peretz firmly ruled out joining a Netanyahu-led government, Levy-Abecassis appeared to leave open that possibility.
“It is very likely that we will not enter a Netanyahu-led government as long as there are indictments hovering over his head,” she told KAN radio.