Prominent Lawmaker Quits Yisrael Beiteinu in Protest of Coalition Deal With Netanyahu

MK Orly Levi-Abekasis said she is leaving the party because social issues aren’t being promoted in the emerging coalition deal between Netanyahu and Lieberman.

Orli Levi-Abekasis.
Emil Salman

MK Orly Levi-Abekasis announced on Thursday evening that she is quitting Yisrael Beiteinu and not joining the party's move to enter the coalition.

Levi-Abekasis said she is leaving the party because social issues aren’t being promoted in the emerging agreement between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yisrael Beiteinu head Avigdor Lieberman over the latter's entry to the government.

"I believed the last days gave us a real opportunity to significantly promote these issues, but unfortunately the opportunity that presented itself to us, as a party about to join the government, wasn’t utilized in any way on social issues," she wrote on Facebook.

Levi-Abekasis added that she intends to continue her work as a Knesset member "according to my conscience and in a way that reflects only the good of the public."  

Zionist Union lawmakers called on Levi-Abekasis to join their ticket.

Zionist Union MK Itzik Shmuli said that "Orly is a great MK and we are close partners in many social struggles in the Knesset. If she left luxurious membership in the coalition because of disagreements over values, it means the new government is leading us to ruin also on social issues. I call on her to come to her natural home – and join the Labor Party."   

MK Omer Bar-Lev tweeted that "Orly Levi-Abekasis is a great MK. Her empty seat will be a great loss to the country and the Knesset. I call on her to join the Labor Party, her natural ideological home."

Zionist Union lawmaker Merav Michaeli also called on Levi-Abekasis to join the faction.