Peretz-Barak summit could decide fate of Center-Left

“Every potential political bond will be considered based on its prospects for widening our bloc and defeating Netanahu,” Peretz said on Monday.

By
July 8, 2019 21:53
2 minute read.
Peretz-Barak summit could decide fate of Center-Left

peretz barak labor laugh. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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Labor leader Amir Peretz will hold a long-awaited meeting with former prime minister Ehud Barak on Wednesday, 12 years after Barak angered Peretz by firing him from his post as defense minister by fax while Peretz was at a meeting planning an attack on Syria’s nuclear reactor.

Barak will come to the meeting weakened, after polls showed his new Israel Democratic Party not crossing the electoral threshold if it runs alone in the September 17 election. Even a poll taken by Barak’s own pollster predicted only six seats.

“Every potential political bond will be considered based on its prospects for widening our bloc and defeating Netanyahu,” Peretz said on Monday.

Sources close to him said that extensive polls would be conducted and focus groups convened to make the decision ahead of the August 1 deadline for lists to be submitted to the central elections committee. Sources said a bond between Labor and Meretz appeared more likely than any other potential bond on the Left.

Following a meeting with Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz that did not go well, Barak said for the first time on Monday in an interview with 90FM Radio that he would have “no problem being Peretz’s number two in order to topple Netanyahu.”

Sources close to Peretz said that Barak’s asking price has been too high. He reportedly was demanding that he head the list and that his new party and Labor alternate their candidates on the list.

Following his meeting with Horowitz, Meretz officials said there “was no breakthrough” and that “Barak has a problem with Arabs and others” among Israel’s non-Arab population that would prevent Meretz from being able to run with him.

KAN quoted Barak telling former Meretz MKs that he is considering apologizing to the Israeli-Arab citizens for police violence against Arab protesters in October 2000, when Barak was prime minister, for which Arab citizens have never forgiven Barak.

Other potential bonds for Peretz include with Gesher leader Orly Levy-Abecassis and with Tzipi Livni, with whom he is meeting on Thursday. Livni firmly denied a Haaretz report that she would only consider a political comeback if Labor and Barak run together with her Hatnua Party.

“Haaretz claims to know what I am thinking, considering and intending to do,” Livni wrote on Twitter. “This is just speculation of the writer. When I want to say something, I will say it with my own voice.”

The fate of a potential political alliance on the Right is expected to be decided by the end of the week. Former justice minister Ayelet Shaked returned from a vacation in the Canadian Rockies on Monday and held a lengthy meeting with New Right leader Naftali Bennett that both sides said went well.

“It is too soon to eulogize their partnership,” sources close to them said.

The same was said by Blue and White leader Benny Gantz on Channel 12 after the channel ran a tape of Blue and White MK Moshe Ya’alon saying that the party’s proposed rotation in the Prime Minister’s Office between Gantz and MK Yair Lapid was opposed by everyone except Lapid.

“Our partnership will be continuing, and Lapid will be a terrific prime minister,” Gantz said.

Gantz said of Barak that he “shouldn’t get in the way” of replacing Netanyahu.


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