Telem's Arab candidate dropped due to bribery charge

Moshe Ya’alon undaunted to run alone.

Moshe Ya’alon with the Telem Party team (photo credit: TELEM PARTY PR)
Moshe Ya’alon with the Telem Party team
(photo credit: TELEM PARTY PR)
Former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon formally announced on Sunday that his Telem Party will run on its own in the March 23 election.
Telem ran with Blue and White in the past three elections. He broke off from Yesh Atid when its leader insisted Ya’alon join the party and abandon Telem.
“I am not afraid of anything and I stand with determination in the face of any challenge,” Ya’alon said.
Ya’alon said it was urgent for him to run to bring down Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose legal interests, he said, conflict with those of the state.
“The time has come to say enough and show him the way out of the Prime Minister’s Residence,” Ya’alon said. “The time has come for change.”
 Ya’alon unveiled a diverse list of candidates with views of all over the political map on many issues. He said those issues could be set aside for now.
“I am proud to join the former defense minister and IDF chief of staff ‘Bogie’ Ya’alon to serve as his right-hand man in creating a political home for the liberal-democratic camp in Israel,” former science and technology minister Izhar Shay said. “We will work together to make Telem the address for the large amount of the public that is in the Center of the political map and sees democracy as a value and not an obstacle.”
On Friday, Shay formally resigned from the government as Science and Technology Minister. He had decided not to run on behalf of the Blue and White Party along with Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz in the upcoming elections.
Shay followed in the footsteps of Prof. Hagai Levine, who announced his joining on Sunday as well. Levine stepped down Saturday night from his position as chairman of the Association of Public Health Physicians.
“Prof. Levine maintained a professional backbone in the face of the amateurish management of the coronavirus crisis,” a statement by the party said Sunday. “Levine is a pioneer in modern community medicine and a great fighter for the quality of life and the environment.”
The party said that Levine will play a key role in helping to bring “security and hope to Israel” again.
In a letter addressed to Health Ministry Director-General Chezy Levy, coronavirus commissioner Prof. Nachman Ash and Prof. Ran Balicer, chairman of the National Expert Advisory Panel to the Government on COVID-19, Levine explained that his decision was reached after realizing that Israel’s leadership is lacking and so is the handling of the pandemic.
“In light of the utter failure in the decision-making process by the political echelon, while breaching public trust, I became convinced that we need doctors and scientists to have the courage to integrate into the national leadership in order to establish decision-making as a process based on professional considerations,” Levine’s letter read.
The association expressed deep gratitude to Levine for his work during the challenging coronavirus pandemic and wished him luck.
On Sunday morning, the association unanimously approved that board member Prof. Nadav Davidovitch will fill the role of interim chairman.
Attorney Gonen Ben-Yitzhak, one of the leaders of the Crime Minister protest movement, also joined Telem. Ya’alon called him “a fighter for democracy” and “a representative of those who take the streets because they love the state.”
Female candidates introduced Sunday include MK Orly Fruman and attorney Karin Mayer Rubinstein, the CEO and president of Israel Advanced Technology Industries, the Israeli umbrella organization for the hi-tech and life sciences industries.
Telem will also have an immigrant from the former Soviet Union in MK Andrei Kuzhinov and an Arab candidate, Haifa attorney Ayman Aburiya, a former member of the Hadash Party that is part of the Joint List.
But after Ya'alon announced Aburiya with great fanfare, it was revealed that Aburiya was arrested on bribery charges two years ago, and the case is still open. Aburiya's attorney said it was a "misunderstanding" but Ya'alon decided to drop him from the list.

Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.