Israeli Lawmaker Opposing Arab-backed Minority Government Requests Split From Labor Alliance

Orli Levi-Abekasis broke away with Labor and Meretz because she opposes a Gantz-led government that would rely on the votes of Arab party members

Gesher leader Orli Levi-Abekasis, January 16, 2019.
Tomer Appelbaum

Israeli legislator Orli Levi-Abeksis submitted a request on Tuesday to the knesset speaker to break away from the Labor-Gesher-Meretz alliance and serve as a representative of her own splinter party.

Levi-Abekasis is breaking up her partnership with left-wing parties against the backdrop of negotiations for a center-left minority government that is supported by votes of the Arab Joint List party.

If the Knesset House Committee grants her request, Levi-Abekasis’ Gesher party would be the smallest in Israel’s parliament, with only one member. The left-wing alliance has not barred the breakaway, meaning Levi-Abekasis would not face the same sanctions she did when she broke away from Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party a year ago.

She wrote on Facebook that she would not support any government “supported by the voters of Balad and the Joint List.”

“I don’t regard myself as committed any longer to the partnership with Meretz, which was forced upon (Labor leader) Amir Peretz and myself by pressure applied by many factors headed by Kahol Lavan,” the post said.

In consultations held on Sunday with President Reuven Rivlin before he tapped Gantz to form a new government, Levi-Abekasis did not join Labor-Mertz’s recommendation for Gantz. Levi-Abekasis did not recommend anyone for the role of prime minister.