Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon speaks at the Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, February 14, 2016.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The mixed religious-secular Jerusalem suburb of Nes Harim has quietly been the epicenter of the effort to form a new centrist bloc that will challenge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud in the next election, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
Nes Harim is the home of social activist Chili Tropper, a close aide of Israel Resilience Party head Benny Gantz and journalist Yoaz Hendel, the right-hand man of Telem Party leader Moshe Ya’alon.
Tropper and Hendel have been negotiating the details of an agreement between the two former IDF chiefs of staff that is nearly final, according to sources informed of the details.
The sources confirmed reports that Ya’alon has insisted that as part of the deal, two former aides to Netanyahu be high on the list: Former cabinet secretary Zvi Hauser and Hendel, a former Netanyahu spokesman.
Ya’alon wants them high on the list, because they are “statesmanlike right-wing” and will balance out Gantz’s list, which will be more Center-Left. Channel 13 reported that Hendel would be the second candidate from Telem on the unified list.Yediot Aharonot
reported that their goal is to have the deal completed in time for the Israel Resilience Party’s rally Tuesday night at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds, in which Gantz will be delivering his first address since entering politics on December 27. It is possible that Ya’alon would also address the rally, or that the agreement would be announced at the event.
“For more than a year already, I have been been calling for parties to unite in order to present an alternative to Netanyahu,” Ya’alon said on a campaign stop on Sunday when asked about the Yediot report.
Channel 12 reported that Gantz is insisting that the top 10 of his list include a majority of candidates from his own party
, even if three parties end up running together. The report said that Gantz, who does not want to rule out joining a Netanyahu-led government, will call for replacing Netanyahu.
Efforts are also continuing to reach an agreement with a third former IDF chief of staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, who Gantz’s internal polls reportedly show would help him woo voters from the Right, and with Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, who Gantz’s polls show would make him lose right-wing voters.
There might also be a bond with the Gesher Party of MK Orly Levy-Abecassis, who on Sunday tweeted praise for Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit's investigations of Netanyahu.
Another former general, former IDF brigadier-general Gal Hirsch, will officially announce the formation of his new party Magen at a rally in Rosh Ha’ayin Monday night. Hirsch will reveal members of his list at the rally.
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