Labor will not be joining left-wing bloc, sources say

The Democratic Union was formed on Thursday by Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz, former prime minister Ehud Barak and Labor MK Stav Shaffir.

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July 28, 2019 01:11
2 minute read.
Amir Peretz is joined in the Labor Party by Orly Levy-Abekasis.

Amir Peretz is joined in the Labor Party by Orly Levy-Abekasis.. (photo credit: KOBI RICHTER/TPS)

Labor leader Amir Peretz will draft a former senior security figure to bolster Labor and Gesher this week, and will not merge with the new Democratic Union Party, sources close to him said on Saturday night.

Sources in both parties denied reports of new negotiations between the parties. A spokeswoman for the Democratic Union said the reports were purposely leaked by Labor to harm her party and cover up Peretz’s error of running alone.

Democratic Union was formed on Thursday by Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz, former prime minister Ehud Barak and Labor MK Stav Shaffir. The union came about after Peretz decided to run with former MK Orly Levy-Abecassis’s Gesher party and not seek a partnership with Meretz or Barak.

“Amir Peretz made a mistake,” Shaffir said at a cultural event in Baka al-Gharbiya. “Great leaders know how to set aside their egos in decisive moments, listen to the public and reconsider their direction. This is how leadership is judged.”

Horowitz told Channel 12 on Saturday night that he would lead the list, even if former minister Tzipi Livni returned to politics and joined it. He criticized Peretz for rejecting his outstretched arm. “I wanted to unite with Labor, but Peretz didn’t want it,” Horowitz said. “Unfortunately, Peretz decided to turn in a different direction, and as far as I have heard, they have no intention of joining us on the Left. That was his decision: To turn right.”

Democratic Union candidate Yair Golan denied reports that he negotiated with Peretz on Wednesday to join Labor and abandon Barak. Golan lashed out at Peretz on Saturday, saying he was not joining the alliance on the Left “because of ego.”

Peretz defended his decision in a meeting with veteran Labor activists in Kibbutz Nir Zvi and received their blessing for his decision to unite with Gesher instead of Meretz.

Peretz said on Saturday that his party would demand the Justice portfolio in future coalition negotiations after the elections, but reiterated that he would not join a government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “In order to change the essence of this country, we will demand the portfolio, and it will be in the hands of Labor and Gesher, and we will be able to influence the ministerial committee on legislation,” he said.

Meretz’s governing council will convene on Sunday to approve the deal with Shaffir and Barak. Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg called on Saturday for Democratic Union to add an Arab-Israeli to the list, in addition to current candidate MK Esawi Frej.

Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.


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