Science and Technology Minister Izhar Shay leaves Blue and White

Blue and White down to 9 party members from 37

New Knesset member Izhar Shay poses for a picture at the Knesset, on April 29, 2019 (photo credit: NOAM REVKIN FENTON / FLASH 90)
New Knesset member Izhar Shay poses for a picture at the Knesset, on April 29, 2019
(photo credit: NOAM REVKIN FENTON / FLASH 90)
Science and Technology Minister Izhar Shay met with Blue and White leader Benny Gantz on Thursday and agreed he would not run with the party again.    
Shay thanked Gantz for the opportunity to be a minister and advance Israeli innovation. He said he respected Gantz despite their differences of opinion. Gantz wished him well going forward.
Out of the top 37 candidates on the Blue and White list in the last election in March 2020, only nine remain with the party, following the departure of Shay and Blue and White MK Ram Shefa from the party on Thursday.
Shefa, who also met with Gantz on Thursday, angered the Blue and White leader when he cast a surprise vote that prevented extending the deadline for passing the state budget, effectively initiating the election.
In a message he wrote on social media, Shefa praised Gantz and other MKs in Blue and White but said the gaps between his views and his party's had grown too wide. He hinted that he would join another party, apparently the Israelis Party of Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai.
"The journey of our entire political camp to create a liberal democratic society is more crucial now than ever," Shefa wrote on Twitter. "I will continue to take part in this journey."
Gantz wished Shefa well, as he did earlier in the week to departing MKs Gabi Ashkenazi, Asaf Zamir and Miki Haimovich.
Outgoing justice minister Avi Nissenkorn and MK Einav Kabla, who is close to Nissenkorn, will be on Huldai's list. The political future in unknown for MK Michal Cotler-Wunsh, who also announced that she is leaving Blue and White.
Among Blue and White's top 37 candidates, the nine left in the party are Gantz, Michael Biton, Chili Tropper, Orit Farkash-Hacohen, Meirav Cohen, Omer Yankelevitch, Pnina Tamano-Shata, Alon Schuster and Eitan Ginzburg.
Due to the Norwegian Law, only five of the nine are currently MKs: Cohen, Tamano-Shata, Yankelevitch, Ginzburg and Gantz himself.
"What matters is that the people who left were a part of the Not Bibi camp, and the people who stayed are actually in camp Benny," a source close to Gantz said. "They joined to kick out Bibi, not necessarily out of dedication to Benny's character and creed. Now, the people who are staying with him share his vision. And that means a more cohesive, more united party that is easier to manage."