Editorial |

Unite to Change the Government

Joining Yesh Atid isn’t enough. The center-left camp needs the Labor Party headed by Avi Gabbay by its side, and must expand its political ranks and reach out to more partners

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A 'unity campaign' billboard in Ramat Gan
A 'unity campaign' billboard in Ramat GanCredit: \ Moti Milrod

The successful opening shot of former Chief of Staff Benny Gantz’s election campaign was clearly reflected in the public opinion polls held the following day. These showed that Gantz’s party Hosen L’Yisrael has grown stronger and is closing the gap between itself and Likud, while Yesh Atid and Labor are getting weaker.

Gantz and his people couldn’t have hoped for a better response, and the rage darts hurled at them by Likud and other coalition members are the best proof of that. It seems that for the first time in years, Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu is in for a political battle with a rival his own size.

According to the three polls released Wednesday (Israel Television News, News 13 and Kan 11), Gantz’s speech added eight or nine Knesset seats to his party, which is now polling at 21-24 seats.

>> At least Gantz didn’t spew hatred

Regarding suitability as prime minister, here too a significant shift in the public stance has occurred, narrowing the gap between Gantz and Netanyahu. News 13’s poll found that the public sees them both equally suitable (42 percent), the ITN poll had Netanyahu overtaking Gantz by 1 percent (36 to 35), while in the Kan poll Netanyahu was ahead by 6 percent (47 to 41).

The polls also posed the question of Hosen L’Yisrael’s merging with Yesh Atid. Such a union headed by Yair Lapid could receive 30 Knesset seats in the ITN poll, compared to Likud’s 31. Under Gantz’s leadership the united party receives 35 Knesset seats. Of course the poll results must be treated with caution, but the logic they reflect should not be dismissed, either. The left-center bloc’s supreme goal is to replace the government and halt Israel’s ongoing deterioration down the radical-right slope under the leadership of the bribery suspect Netanyahu.

The public that wants to replace the government must stand united and strong against Netanyahu. But joining Yesh Atid isn’t enough. The center-left camp needs the Labor Party headed by Avi Gabbay by its side, and must expand its political ranks and reach out to more partners.

Only a strong, large political union behind the person most likely to accomplish the mission will provide him with a real chance of winning the public’s confidence, and the president’s blessing to form a government.

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