Israeli Labor Party Chief Peretz Slams Democratic Union as 'Passing Trend'

Peretz believes Labor will pull voters form the periphery and center-right parties, and isn't mourning his party's loss of Stav Shaffir

Peretz at a Labor Party conference, June 23, 2019.
Avishag Shaar-Yashuv

Labor Party Chairman Amir Peretz is trying to project a business-as-usual attitude in light of the merger between Meretz, Ehud Barak's Democratic Israel party and former Labor lawmaker, Stav Shaffir.

Despite the various forecast predicting his party won't cross the electoral threshold, Peretz is confident in the path he has chosen – a union between his party and that of Orli Levi-Abekasis.

In closed-door meetings, Peretz claimed that the Democratic Union party is a passing trend.

According to Peretz, voters in Israel's periphery, including those from the Arab, Bedouin and Druze public, will flock to him once the Labor Party launches its targeted campaign focused on social issues.

Peretz said that with the two seats they expect to gain from Kulanu voters, they will form an obstructive bloc, even without Avigdor Lieberman and his Yisrael Beiteinu party.

>> Read more: New center-left alliance should take a page out of the U.S. politics playbook | Noa Landau ■ Israeli leftists can thank Jeffrey Esptein for Barak-Shaffir-Meretz alliance | Chemi Shalev ■ Center-left merger leaves Barak, Shaffir and Meretz smiling on the life raft | Anshel Pfeffer 

"I will not unite with Meretz and Barak, because those are two different paths," Peretz said Thursday night in an interview with Channel 12. "If I were to join-up with the Democratic Union today, I would be doing the worst possible thing for replacing Netanyahu. The votes they're getting are from Kahol Lavan, this is a zero-sum game. Our path gives us a chance to bring in votes from the right-wing of the political map."

Peretz was pleased upon hearing that Shaffir decided to leave the party Thursday morning. The hatred between the two is mutual and has been well-known for years. Peretz is no fan of independent actors with their own party activists who do not rejoice in coming to him for support before each primary, and Shaffir doesn't appreciate the new chairman's approaches to work.

Peretz intends to make use of the departures of Shaffir and Shelly Yacimovich, together with the earlier departures of Avi Gabbay and Tal Rousso, to shuffle the cards anew for Labor in the Knesset. Though Peretz himself voted in favor of keeping the slate as it is for the next Knesset, Peretz wants to promote his associates and is not despairing at the idea of reserving a space for a leading figure. It is doubtful that such a person could be found in the political sphere, but Peretz is, on top of everything else, persistent.