Left-wing bloc comes apart as Meretz and Stav Shaffir part ways

I call on Amir Peretz and Meretz to act together so that the entire bloc will win and not lose seats to the Right,” said Shaffir.

By World Israel News Staff 

Despite fears on the left of the Israeli political spectrum that one or more parties on the center-left may not receive enough votes in the March 2 Knesset election to even enter parliament, a breakup was officially announced on Wednesday that could just exacerbate the situation.

MK Stav Shaffir, leader of the Green Party, announced that she would be running her party separately in the upcoming parliamentary election, breaking off from the Democratic Union.

The left, already in decline, appears in disarray. Shaffir herself said the situation is “like the Titanic,” reported Ynet.

She had previously been a member of the Labor Party but left to instead be a part of the Democratic Union bloc, which is lead by the Meretz party and also includes the Israel Democratic Party, headed by former Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

The bloc was formed before the September 17 Knesset election. It won five seats in the 120-member Israeli parliament.

Shaffir, 34, had been seen as a rising star in Labor, but lost in the July party primary for the leadership to MK Amir Peretz.

She said that she later bolted because Peretz was forming a union with a different party, Gesher, which risked taking Labor ideologically rightward.

Labor-Gesher currently has only six seats, Labor’s smallest parliamentary representation ever, after years as a ruling party.

Peretz has, in fact, refused to join Democratic Union, seemingly preferring to stress a socio-economic agenda and not getting labeled with the left-wing camp which supports a Palestinian state.

“When I left Labor it was in order to unite the Left,” Shaffir wrote on Facebook on Wednesday.

“I call on Amir Peretz and Meretz to act together so that the entire bloc will win and not lose seats to the Right,” she continued.

However, she later lamented that neither Meretz nor Peretz seemed willing to show “leadership” and make compromises.

Though Israel is going to a third parliamentary election within a year after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed twice to form a new governing coalition of either right-wing and religious parties or a national unity government, Blue and White leader MK Benny Gantz, widely viewed as center-left, has also failed to form a coalition amid the ongoing political stalemate.