Sheetrit to follow Mitzna in retiring from politics

Mitzna praises Livni-Labor union, says joint list has genuine chance to defeat Netanyahu.

Amram Mitzna
The country’s most veteran Knesset member, Hatnua MK, Meir Sheetrit, intends to announce his retirement from politics after 30 years of service at a Tel Aviv press conference. Sheetrit will become the fourth Hatnua lawmaker to announce his departure from the Knesset over the past two weeks, following MKs Elazar Stern, David Tsur and Amram Mitzna.
Mitzna informed party chief Tzipi Livni that he would not be running in the upcoming general election.
Mitzna emphasized that the decision was not a show of displeasure at Hatnua joining lists with Labor.
“I believe that Hatnua’s joining Labor is the right move that has the power to change the reality in Israel,” he said on his Facebook page. “The Labor Party was and remains my political home. Today, under the leadership of Isaac Herzog, with the cooperation of Tzipi Livni and with a young and talented roster, Labor has the ability to unseat the leadership and I see myself as enlisted to this important task.”
He added: “I believe in our existential need as a state to reach a diplomatic agreement, to reduce socioeconomic gaps, to promote education, and to preserve democracy. I am convinced that these goals are attainable.”
Mitzna said that the current circumstances and repositioning of parties led him to the realization that he could not realistically help attain these goals as an MK.
He said that he would continue to do what he could to serve those working to advance issues that are essential to the healing of the state.
Mitzna said that he was proud of the work he had done in the outgoing Knesset as chairman of the Education, Culture and Sport committee. He thanked his fellow lawmakers in Hatnua for their contributions, saying that the party had offered Israel “a sane, moderating and logical voice.”
The only MK out of the five who were elected to the Knesset with Hatnua head Livni who will run with her on the Labor list in the March 17 election is former environmental protection minister Amir Peretz.
“I see Amir as an important partner in the mission to replace the government of Netanyahu and the extremists,” Livni said.
Peretz said Labor and Hatnua running together was the first stage on the way to replace the Netanyahu government.
Livni and Herzog launched their campaign on Wednesday night at their new headquarters in Tel Aviv. Livni said in her speech that Peretz would be given the No. 8 slot on the joint list.
Following Sheetrit’s departure and that of former labor MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, Peretz will be the Knesset’s most veteran MK.
That status will make him the interim Knesset speaker when it convenes for the first time after the election on March 31.