Independent Lawmaker Orli Levi-Abekasis Announces New Political Party

Former Yisrael Beiteinu MK says party will focus on status of country’s outlying areas and ethnic polarization

Independent lawmaker Orli Levi-Abekasis in a conference in southern city of Sderot, March 6, 2018.
Ilan Assayag

Lawmaker Orli Levi-Abekasis, who left the secular, right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu last year to become an independent Knesset member, announced Tuesday that she is setting up a new political party.

During her remarks addressing the Sderot Conference, Levi-Abekasis said that she would shortly reveal the party’s name and platform, and was planning to submit the list of party founders to the Interior Ministry for approval on Wednesday.

“Why is it legitimate for a former model [Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid] to be finance minister and manage the state budget a minute after he decides to run for Knesset, but I, after nine years and all my activity, announce repeatedly that I’m setting up a party and journalists ask me whom I’m joining up with?” asked Levi-Abekasis. “What’s not clear? I’m establishing a party, I will head it, and I will represent the public without bias.”

She added, “Tomorrow I will submit the whole binder of founders to the Population, Immigration and Border Authority so that I can get all the founders’ confirmation of residence. Every one of them is good, believes in the path and the platform and in the notion that it’s possible and necessary to change what’s happening in politics today.”

After Levi-Abekasis announced that she was leaving Yisrael Beiteinu, she remained in the Knesset as an independent. In accordance with the legislature’s Basic Law, sanctions that limited her activities were imposed. One of the them stipulating that if Levi-Abekasis did not resign, she would not be allowed to run for the Knesset as part of an existing party in the next election.

Levi-Abekasis said she believes elections are in the offing and that her party would deal with the status of Israel’s outlying areas and ethnic polarization.

“It’s inconceivable that people acknowledge the geographic periphery only at the Sderot Conference or during an election campaign,” she said. “These issues have to be the focus of a new movement that won’t turn into a polarization of right and left, that won’t take the different communities and divide them the way some of us know quite a few politicians do.”

She added, “When I look at the candidates we have today I must say they look similar. Have you noticed that everyone is everyone’s friend? And the wealthy are friends of all the alternatives that media is offering us. I’m the safest option because I don’t have any tycoon friends. I never did and I don’t intend to make any now.”