Israel elections: Merav Michaeli's Labor takes aim at Yair Lapid

A leaked Labor document called the prime minister's merger mediation attempts "illegitimate, counterproductive and unnecessary hysterics."

 Foreign Minister Yair Lapid with Merav Michaeli, Minister of Transport and Road Safety during a discussion and a vote on a bill to dissolve the Knesset, at the assembly hall of the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem, on June 22, 2022 (photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid with Merav Michaeli, Minister of Transport and Road Safety during a discussion and a vote on a bill to dissolve the Knesset, at the assembly hall of the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem, on June 22, 2022
(photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

Labor Party activists and politicians were told to attack Prime Minister Yair Lapid publicly for his attempts to force a merger between Labor and Meretz, a talking points document given to Walla! on Tuesday morning revealed.

According to the document, Labor head Merav Michaeli argues that Lapid's attempts to mediate in talks between her and Zehava Galon are "illegitimate, counterproductive and unnecessary hysterics."

She also accused the prime minister of deception, further claiming that Lapid is only pushing for a merger on the Left for his own political gain rather than for the good of his bloc.

According to the leaked document, the message that Labor MKs were asked to relay was one of "calm and restraint," urging bloc partners to "focus on our real opponents."

 Labor Party leader Merav Michaeli, Meretz leader Zehava Galon (credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90, YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) Labor Party leader Merav Michaeli, Meretz leader Zehava Galon (credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90, YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

No progress in Lapid-mediated merger talks on the Left

Lapid on Saturday orchestrated a meeting between Michaeli and Galon, which the latter said was held "in good spirits."

The Meretz head, who supports a potential merger, argued earlier in September that Labor could fall below the electoral threshold if the merger does not happen. Meretz climbed above Labor in the latest election polls released in Israel.

The leaked document also mentioned that the electoral threshold "poses no danger to neither Labor nor Meretz."

As part of Saturday's discussions in the Prime Minister's Office, Lapid went as far as to promise a spot on Yesh Atid's list, one for a Meretz representative and one for a Labor candidate.

In addition, he assured the chairwomen they will be given a senior position in the next government if it is formed by Lapid. However, the transportation minister rejected all offers.

Labor determined to run independently

Despite Michaeli's call to focus on the Left's "real opponents," Lapid is heavily mentioned throughout the leaked document, considerably more than opposition head Benjamin Netanyahu.

Labor will also look to highlight the ideological differences between Meretz and Labor, focusing on Meretz's ambiguity regarding its status as a Zionist faction. In addition, Michaeli will attempt to revive Labor's image as a security-first party.