Amir Peretz and Nitzan Horowitz reach deal on Labor-Meretz joint ticket

Shaffir left out, alleges 'political assassination'

Labor leader Amir Peretz and Meretz chairman Nitzan Horowitz (photo credit: LABOR-GESHER PARTY SPOKESPERSON)
Labor leader Amir Peretz and Meretz chairman Nitzan Horowitz
Labor leader Amir Peretz and Meretz chairman Nitzan Horowitz reached an agreement early Monday regarding their two parties running on one list in the March 2 election.
The two parties will use the ballot that Labor and its forerunners have used for decades, with the Hebrew letters alef, mem and tav, which spell “truth.” The joint list will be known as Labor-Gesher-Meretz, taking into account Labor’s prior agreement with the socioeconomic Gesher party of MK Orly Levy-Abekasis.
In a joint statement at Tel Aviv’s Beit Sokolow, Peretz said the agreement would ensure that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would not obtain a majority in the next Knesset for right-wing policies or for immunity from prosecution.
“Only if Labor-Gesher-Meretz is strong will the Netanyahu government be replaced,” he said at the event. “We will navigate the next government to be a government of change and hope,” Peretz said.
Speaking to a crowd of Labor activists in red and Meretz activists in green, Horowitz said voters need to know that if they want a right-wing party, they could cast ballots for Likud or Blue and White, but if they want a centrist or left-wing party, Labor-Gesher-Meretz was their only choice.
“The merger is good news for those who want peace and social justice and bad news for Netanyahu and his quest for immunity,” he said. “This is a historic moment for the Zionist Left. There is a real chance for a political and ideological upheaval.”
The agreement was reached in marathon talks overnight at Peretz’s home in Sderot. Horowitz and the negotiating teams of both Labor and Meretz attended.
Peretz will head the list and be followed by Levy-Abekasis, Horowitz, Meretz faction head Tamar Zandberg, Labor faction head Itzik Shmuli, Labor MK Merav Michaeli and Democratic Union MK Yair Golan.
Former Meretz MK Esawi Frej, who is set to be No. 11 on the list, called on Meretz to approve the deal with Labor but reject a deal that Meretz reached with Golan, saying there are enough generals in politics but not enough Jewish-Arab partnerships.
Current Democratic Union and former Labor MK Stav Shaffir remains out of the deal after rejecting Frej’s No. 5 slot on the Meretz list that would have been No. 11 on the joint list.
She criticized the deal and said her Green Party would decide whether to run on its own by Wednesday’s deadline.
Shaffir said the deal was reached out of “revenge” against her by both parties and was an “attempted political assassination” against her.
Peretz had been against joining forces with the party to Labor’s left until now. He instead sought a deal with Blue and White, which was rejected last week by its chairman, Benny Gantz. But a poll Labor sponsored indicating Meretz may not cross the 3.25% electoral threshold persuaded Peretz he had to take action.
“We have no choice. We need to merge,” Peretz said in a meeting of his party’s executive committee.
The poll Labor sponsored found that if Labor and Meretz run together, they will win 11 seats in the March election, just like they won in September when they ran separately.
Levy-Abecassis, a former Yisrael Beytenu MK, strongly opposed running with Meretz. She said she changed her mind as a gesture to Peretz and because “someone had to behave like a responsible adult.”