Labor to merge with Benny Gantz's Blue and White Party

MK Michaeli "shocked Ben-Gurion's party will die."

Amir Peretz gives newly-elected Knesset Speaker Benny Gantz the gavel on March 26, 2020 (photo credit: KNESSET SPOKESWOMAN - ADINA WALDMAN)
Amir Peretz gives newly-elected Knesset Speaker Benny Gantz the gavel on March 26, 2020
Labor will soon merge its faction and then the party itself with Blue and White, Labor leader Amir Peretz revealed at a meeting of the Knesset Arrangements Committee on Monday, in a move that could result in the former ruling party whose forerunner Mapai founded the state no longer continuing to exist.
The merger would allow the Blue and White faction to include 20 MKs, including the 15 from Blue and White leader Benny Gantz's Israel Resilience Party, two from the Derech Eretz Party of MKs Tzvi Hauser and Yoaz Hendel and three from Labor.
Gantz and Peretz met on Monday and decided to engage in a dialogue aimed at formalizing collaboration between their two factions and parties, Blue and White and Labor said in an official statement.
In the first stage, the rules for collaboration and coordination within the Knesset will be determined, with the intention of ultimately uniting the factions. Moving forward, teams will be formed to foster political cooperation and to prepare for future election campaigns. The two decided that Blue and White faction chairman Avi Nissenkorn and Labor MK Itzik Shmuli will work together to advance these issues.
Labor MK Merav Michaeli, who opposes entering the coalition, said she was shocked to hear in a Knesset press statement that her party and the party of former prime ministers  would soon no longer exist, due to the desire of Peretz to enter what she said would be a corrupt government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. She called upon Labor members to fight for the life of their party.
"To give portfolios to Amir Peretz and Itzik Shmuli, you don't throw away the party of David Ben-Gurion, Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres," Michaeli said.
Peretz formally requested a split from Meretz from the Arrangements Committee. He said the parties differed about how to be most effective on socioeconomic issues during the financial crisis caused by the coronavirus. The split was approved by the committee with no opposition.
"We didn't see eye to eye about how to serve the public," Peretz said. "We in Labor wanted to explore the possibility of serving the people from the government."
Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg bashed Peretz at the meeting.
"We didn't even entertain the thought that having no ballot that said Meretz in the last election would result in our votes being used to crawl into a corrupt government,"  she said.