Exodus From Gantz's Party Continues Ahead of Israeli Election as Sixth Lawmaker Leaves

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz, 2020.
Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz, 2020. Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Science Minister Izhar Shay and the chairman of the Knesset's Education, Culture and Sports Committee, Ram Shefa, announced Thursday that they are leaving Kahol Lavan, making them the latest in a string of departures from the party ahead of Israel's March 23 election.

Science, Technology and Space Minister Shay said he spoke to party leader Benny Gantz and thanks him for "the opportunity to become a minister," and that he "appreciates and respect Benny, despite the disagreements between us."

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Gantz said he wished the minister "success in his future endeavors."

Shefa also spoke with Defense Minister Gantz and said on Twitter that "It was clear to both of us that the rifts that have formed between myself and the party have caused my departure from Kahol Lavan."

Ram Shefa speaks in the Knesset plenum in Jerusalem. April 27, 2020.Credit: Adina Valman / Knesset Spokesperson's Office

He added, "I am very certain, but to be honest, it hurts. I love Benny and the rest of the members very much. The journey of the party aspiring to create a liberal democratic society is more crucial than ever. I will continue to take part in this journey."

Shefa and Shay join a number of Kahol Lavan members who recently announced that they were leaving the party. Among them are Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn, as well as Knesset members Asaf Zamir and Miki Haimovich.

Shefa was one of three party Knesset members – alongside Zamir and Haimovich – who voted against the bill that would have delayed the dissolution of the Knesset, despite Kahol Lavan's stance on the legislation.

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