The formation of the Hayisraelim party headed by Ron Huldai, the mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo, and Avi Nissenkorn, the justice minister from Kahol Lavan, is welcome news for the center-left camp. After the farce of Kahol Lavan, Huldai’s recent speech is important and encouraging.
“We won’t reconcile ourselves to a prime minister under indictment, we won’t reconcile ourselves to a constant threat to the system of law enforcement. I have decided that I can no longer stand on the sidelines.” Although the content sounds boringly familiar, it is more relevant than ever.
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The sad reality – in which the government is headed by a criminal defendant, who is willing to subordinate the interests of the country and the public and to undermine the government’s institutions, laws and servants, in order to escape prosecution – has not changed, and we must not reconcile ourselves to that.
Huldai and Nissenkorn are not alone on the center-left playing field. Ofer Shelah has also announced his departure from Yesh Atid and the formation of a new party, which will run in the upcoming election.
In his speech Shelah stressed that his philosophy is more encompassing than “Anyone but Bibi.” Shelah spoke about the importance of the two-state solution, about “the crucial need to end our rule over another nation,” about integrating the Arabs and the ultra-Orthodox into the economy.
In addition to Huldai, Nissenkorn and Shelah, Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party is also signaling leftward. In addition to his offer to give Tzipi Livni the second spot in his party, Lapid announced a change – a welcome one – in his approach regarding cooperation with the Arab MKs.
Meretz is also in a process of examining its identity, particularly regarding the question of a possible partnership between Jews and Arabs. Then there is still the Labor Party, which after the departure of its chairman, Amir Peretz, and assuming that it won’t hinder necessary attempts at renewal, is expected to open its gates to more attractive candidates.
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The explosion taking place in the center-left is logical, and even beneficial at this point in time. But as the election nears we must hope that a single large platform is created, one that includes as many political entities as possible that share a similar common denominator.
In spite of the harsh blow to trust caused by Kahol Lavan Chairman Benny Gantz and his partners when they entered the government with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, we should not forget Kahol Lavan’s great electoral success.
The unification of all the center-left parties into a single large party and running together in the election – despite their ideological differences, which in any case can only be detected with a magnifying glass – was and remains the only route to replacing the government. All the more so in light of the revolt in Likud and the disintegration of the right-wing bloc.
The above article is Haaretz’s lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.