MK Amir Peretz (Hatnua) recently informed his party’s leader, MK Tzipi Livni, that he intends to return to the Labor Party and run for the Knesset on Labor’s ticket, according to a report on Channel 2 News Friday night.
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Peretz, who was Labor’s chairman in the past, has had several conversations with Livni in recent months over the possibility of unifying Hatnua and Labor. However, while Peretz is pressing for full unification, Livni wants Hatnua to remain independent and to strengthen their joint list, Zionist Union. “Amir is closer than I am to Labor, Livni said, adding that at the moment discussions are underway between Peretz and Livni and Peretz and Herzog “on how to turn Zionist Union into a faction with vision and content.”
Although people in Peretz’s orbit declined to comment on the remarks, senior figures in Labor said that over the past few months Peretz launched a major membership drive in Labor in order to strengthen his power and influence in its institutions. It is believed that the timing of Peretz’s announcement is not coincidental: “The aroma of the primaries in Labor is in the air. Peretz has to take some real steps, openly, to once again be a significant and influential figure in Labor. This announcement is another step on that road,” sources in the Labor said.
Peretz left Labor shortly before the 2013 elections. “I’ve experienced baseless hatred from rivals but this is the first time in my life that I experienced baseless hatred from within my political home,” Peretz said at the time about his conflict with then-Labor Party chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich.