Gantz's Party Releases Platform: Deepen Separation From Palestinians, Strengthen Settlement Blocs

Kahol Lavan says it would amend the controversial nation-state law and offer public transportation on Shabbat

The Kahlon Lavan party's leadership
Gil Eilahu

Kahol Lavan, the new party headed by Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid, released its party platform on Wednesday in advance of the April 9 Knesset election.

If it forms the next government, the platform commits the party to pursuing a regional conference with Arab countries to “deepen the processes of separation from the Palestinians, while uncompromisingly protecting the security interests of the country and the Israeli army’s freedom of action everywhere.”

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The platform states that there will be no additional “disengagement,” a reference to the unilateral Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and from several West Bank settlements in 2005, and that “every historic diplomatic decision" will be brought to the people in a referendum, or for approval by a supermajority of the Knesset.

The party will “strengthen the [West Bank] settlement blocs and enable normal life anywhere Israelis live." The Jordan Valley will be the eastern security border of Israel, and a united Jerusalem will be Israel’s eternal capital, the platform states.

With regard to issues of religion and state, the party promises to seek to preserve Israel’s Jewish identity while at the same time allowing individuals and communities the freedom to shape their own lifestyles.

The Jewish Sabbath should be preserved as the national day of rest, but also allow for activities that provide “a response to the needs of Israeli citizens as a whole.” Kahol Lavan will allow local governments that wish to operate limited public transportation on Shabbat to do so.

A law limiting businesses from opening on Shabbat will be rescinded, the platform states, and the party will push for passage of the Defense Ministry’s version of a bill providing for the conscription of ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students, as well as legislation on civil unions and surrogacy for LGBT families.

The controversial "nation-state law" would be amended to include equality as a fundamental constitutional principle, according to the party platform.