Benny Gantz says goodbye to Blue and White rebels Zamir, Haimovich

Ashkenazi, Nissenkorn excluded from faction meeting

Blue and White parliament member Asaf Zamir speaks during a discussion on a bill to dissolve the parliament, at the Knesset, in Jerusalem on May 29, 2019. (photo credit: HADAS PARUSH/FLASH90)
Blue and White parliament member Asaf Zamir speaks during a discussion on a bill to dissolve the parliament, at the Knesset, in Jerusalem on May 29, 2019.
(photo credit: HADAS PARUSH/FLASH90)
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz met with MKs Asaf Zamir and Miki Haimovich on Sunday and agreed with them that they will not run with the party in the March 23 election.
Zamir told KAN Radio earlier Sunday that the party shouldn’t be led by Gantz in the election, and he won’t run with it if it does. He says the Center-Left bloc should be led by whoever can get the most seats.
Zamir called for unity on the Center-Left so citizens in the bloc won’t have to run for a party on the Right.
Gantz wished Zamir and Haimovich well. He is expected to have a similar conversation with Blue and White MK Ram Shefa, who like Zamir and Haimovich, voted against extending the deadline to pass the state budget and prevent early elections last week.
“I don’t regret my vote,” Zamir said. “I urged him to do everything necessary to enable the Center-Left to unite in a framework that could run to replace the government.”
Haimovich said there were large gaps between her views and those of her party for quite some time.
Gantz convened the Blue and White faction on Zoom on Sunday night. Besides Haimovich and Zamir, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn, who are undecided about their political future, were not invited. In the meeting Gantz said he would formally announce that the party is running within 48 hours.
Meanwhile, the Tel Aviv District court decided on Sunday to move up a hearing to Wednesday on canceling the party’s primaries. Labor MK Merav Michaeli expressed confidence that the court would rule that the primaries for Labor’s leader and Knesset list must be allowed to take place.
“This is a great opportunity to fight for democracy in Labor specifically and in politics as a whole,” Michaeli said.
Only after the ruling will Labor be able to be a part of negotiations to form a larger party on the Center-Left with former Blue and White MKs and possibly with former Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah.
Shelah quit the Knesset on Sunday. He will be replaced in the Knesset by the next candidate on the combined Blue and White-Yesh Atid list, Blue and White director-general Yael Ron Ben-Moshe.