The leader of Israel’s Blue and White bloc, Benny Gantz, and the head of the Labor Party in the Zionist state, Amir Peretz, reaffirmed in a meeting yesterday that they will continue their joint efforts to mobilise support for a left of centre coalition government, Israeli media reported.
The meeting came a day after Knesset member Orly Levy-Abekasis declared that she was no longer committed to the views of her left-wing political partners because they have been trying to form a coalition which would be dependent on Palestinian MKs.
At the same time, Andre Kogenov MK of Blue and White revealed that the Likud led by Benjamin Netanyahu had made several offers to him to leave his party and join the ruling bloc. Likud has been trying to persuade left-wing MKs to defect and join the right-wing alliance in order to form a new government.
“I have received proposals in this regard and many MKs from our party received similar proposals,” explained Kogenov. He would not give any further details. Likud’s Dudi Amsalem MK told Yedioth Ahronoth that reports about offers being made to Levy-Abekasis specifically are “false”.
Gantz and Meretz issued a statement after their meeting, stressing that they would continue with their efforts to undermine the Likud attempt to “drag” Israel into yet another General Election.
“Moments of decision contain challenges for all political parties,” said Peretz. “I am doing everything necessary to overcome them and to continue our work to deliver Israel’s citizens the government we committed to before the election.”
According to Arab48.com, Peretz does not want to criticise Levy-Abekasis publicly so as to leave the door open for her to rejoin her left-wing partners.
Meanwhile, the far-right leader of Yisrael Beiteinu, Avigdor Lieberman, insisted that his position on cooperating with the Joint List of Palestinian MKs “has not changed”. The Times of Israel reported him saying: “We are not obligated to provide Netanyahu with intel or calming pills. We will make decisions according to the national interest and our promises to voters.” He pointed out that Netanyahu cooperated with [Palestinian leader Yasser] Arafat and Arab parties “more than anyone else.”