Israeli left makes move toward unity as Meretz, Israel Democratic Party merge

The Israeli left made a move toward unity in the hopes of sending Netanyahu into early retirement.

By World Israel News Staff

The Israeli left made a move toward unity in a bid to strengthen its chances in the coming elections. The far left-wing Meretz party announced a merger with the recently created Israel Democratic Party and Knesset member Stav Shaffir on Thursday morning.

Stav Shaffir’s participation came as a surprise as she declared on Israeli media only two days ago that she wasn’t interested in finding a new party. She had been a leading figure in the Labor party until Thursday’s announcement.

Shaffir tweeted a picture of herself, Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz and Israel Democratic Party leader Ehud Barak on Wednesday.

Ehud Barak retweeted the picture saying, “The battle for the State of Israel begins this morning. The democratic camp – all of us together, will fight and win.”

Barak, who is placed in a relatively low spot on the unified list to enter the Knesset at No. 10, likely referred to this fact when he also tweeted, “And to those surprised: The only important spot – where Netanyahu will be on 18/09.”

The elections are to be held on September 17.

Nitzan Horowitz, who became leader of Meretz in June, tweeted: “There is a union! And I’m very happy and excited. We will do everything to bring about change. Good morning Israel.”

Tamar Zandberg, who had led Meretz prior to Horowitz’s victory, tweeted, “A dramatic move to strengthen the left: expanding the ranks worthy of us and significantly strengthening the positions of justice and equality as an alternative to the Messianic and corrupt right.”

The order of the first 10 candidates on the list splice together members of the different parties. They are: 1. Nitzan Horowitz 2. Stav Shaffir 3. Yair Golan 4. Tamar Zandberg 5. Ilan Gilon 6. Issawi Frej 7. (spot reserved for Israel Democratic Party) 8. Moshe Raz 9. (spot reserved for Israel Democratic Party) 10. Ehud Barak.

Pressure on Peretz

The merger puts pressure on Labor leader Amir Peretz to join the coalition. Itzik Shmueli, a leading Labor figure, added his voice to that of Shaffir’s even before the unity move was announced, declaring that pulling together is “the order of the hour.”

“I have a substantive disagreement with the line chosen for the party, and so I’ll continue to fight to order to return it to the right place. Ensuring spots alone won’t bring the good tidings [that we wish], only mergers,” Shmueli wrote on his Facebook account on Wednesday.