Shmuli: Peretz must make deals with Barak, Meretz

Barak responded to the Labor-Gesher merger on Friday by warning that the move may lead to the left's downfall in the upcoming September 17 election.

July 21, 2019 04:58
2 minute read.
Shmuli: Peretz must make deals with Barak, Meretz

ITZIK SHMULI: I believe I can take a party in a storm to safe waters. (photo credit: REUVEN KAPUCHINSKI)

Labor leader Amir Peretz must follow up on an agreement he reached with MK Orly Levy-Abecassis – to run with her Gesher party – by also merging with Meretz and former prime minister Ehud Barak’s Israel Democratic Party, Labor’s No. 2 Itzik Shmuli said on Friday.

Shmuli, who lost the Labor leadership race to Peretz, welcomed the agreement with Gesher, calling it wonderful. However, he criticized the agreement between Peretz and Levy-Abecassis in not seeking deals with other parties.

“The merger with her is terrific but it is forbidden to stop there,” Shmuli said. “To increase in size and to win, there must be a larger political big bang in the Center-Left bloc that emphasizes rather than hides its views on all what Israel needs: Democracy, security, peace and equality. It can still be achieved.”

Barak responded to the Labor-Gesher merger on Friday by warning that the move may lead to the Left’s downfall in the upcoming September 17 election. “I hope this is still not irreversible,” Barak said. “She is certainly a possible partner for such a large camp, but this step may, God forbid, put an end to the work, the vision and the legacy of the party that established the state, in favor of establishing a socially niche party.”

Speaking at a meeting with members of Kibbutz Ein Shemer, Barak complained that Levy-Abecassis calls herself “neither Right nor Left.” He warned that the merger with Gesher “in effect gives up the chance of a [left-wing] government and opens the door to an alliance with Netanyahu.”

Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz went further, suggesting that joining Netanyahu’s government was the purpose of the Labor-Gesher deal. “[Peretz] told me explicitly in our talks he is considering, he wants, intends and is leaning toward joining a Netanyahu-led government,” Horowitz told Army Radio. “That is why he did not merge with Meretz. He is destroying chances for bonds in the Left bloc and replacing Netanyahu.”

Horowitz said over the weekend that he would seriously examine a possible merger with Barak’s party. He noted that Levy-Abecassis voted for the Jewish Nation-State Law a year ago, which he said would not make her a good partner for Meretz.

Peretz ruled out joining a Netanyahu-led government in a tweet late Thursday night, saying “So it will be clear: We will not sit in a government of Netanyahu under an indictment! We are committed to replacing this bad government and bringing hope to the people of Israel.”

During a tour of northern Bedouin villages on Saturday, Peretz added another condition for a coalition, saying he would only join if the Jewish Nation-State Law was repealed.

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