Labor head Amir Peretz and Israel Democratic Party head Ehud Barak.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/REUTERS)
Labor leader Amir Peretz met with Israel Democratic Party chairman Ehud Barak on Wednesday, but no progress was reported on forming a joint list.
There has been bad blood between the two men for 12 years and neither side was prepared to say that their differences were resolved in the meeting. Both Barak and Peretz are unlikely to give up the top slot on a joint list and Labor officials have said that Barak’s demands are unreasonable.
The two veteran politicians both tweeted after the meeting that they met in a “very good atmosphere and mutual respect.”
But no pictures were released from the meeting, unlike Peretz’s meetings over the past week with Blue and White leader Benny Gantz and Meretz chairman Nitzan Horowitz. The meeting’s location was initially kept a secret, but it was later revealed that it took place in the Ramat Gan office of Barak confidant Oshi Elmaliah.
Peretz will meet on Thursday with his former leader in the Hatnua party, Tzipi Livni, in an effort to woo her back to politics. A source close to Livni said that if she returned, she would want to bring political allies with her to a joint list.
Livni’s number two in Hatnua Yoel Hasson has retired from politics, so it is unclear who she would bring with her.
Peretz is also wooing Gesher leader Orly Levy-Abecassis, who he hopes would bring her 70,000 voters from the April 9 election and help attract socio-economically focused voters away from Likud.
Levy-Abecassis, who is being wooed by three other parties, is set to meet with Peretz next week after talking on the phone multiple times.
Barak’s chances of political bonds are more limited. Following talk of a potential joint run with Meretz, MK Esawi Frej firmly rejected the idea on Wednesday.
“If Meretz unites with Barak, it would be the end of the Left,” Frej said.
Gantz attacked Barak without mentioning him by name in a speech in Hod Hasharon on Wednesday night. Gantz said Barak was misleading the public by saying that the next prime mintier would be decided not by what party is largest but by which would be the leader of the largest political bloc.
“Some people still focus on the ‘blocs narrative,’ which is false and grossly inaccurate,” Gantz said. “It’s the small parties that are promoting the blocs narrative, in an attempt to rally up a few more votes instead of placing the national interest first.”
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