Meretz MK blasts Orly Levy for betraying Left by opposing Arab List partnership

“It is inconceivable to simply steal the mandate of the left and give it on a silver platter to the right,” Zandberg said.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Knesset member Tamar Zandberg of the far-left Meretz party accused Orly Levy-Abekasis, who is part of the same Labour-Gesher-Meretz faction of political manipulation, Ynet reported Thursday.

Zandberg criticized Levy-Abekasis for bucking party discipline by refusing to support a proposal to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by employing the support of the Arab Joint List.

“It is inconceivable to simply steal the mandate of the left and give it on a silver platter to the right,” Zandberg said in a radio interview. “This is one of the biggest embarrassments I can remember.”

With the results of Israel’s March 2 election deadlocked and Netanyahu three seats short of forming a coalition majority of 61 in the 120-seat Knesset, opposition leader Benny Gantz said his center-left Blue and White Party would form a minority government.

However, Gantz said he would do that by using 15 votes from Israel’s Arab parties who would agree to support him, but not be part of his government.

Levy-Abekasis put a stick in Gantz’s spokes when she announced earlier this week that she would not support the move. Two members of Gantz’s party also said they could not support a government based on the support of opposition Arab members.

Read  Is Israeli left-wing party leader guilty of incitement?

If neither side can get the minimum 61 votes needed, Israelis will be forced to go back to the polls in September for what would be an unprecedented fourth election in a row.

Zandberg blasted Levy-Abekasis, who she said climbed on their backs to get elected, having joined their list knowing it was “committed to both Gantz’s government and an Arab-Jewish partnership.”

“Orly Levy has no mandate to steal the votes of leftists, who voted for the party list knowing what it was,” Zandberg tweeted. She must “vacate and resign.”

Polls before the March 2 Israel elections showed the popularity of three small left-leaning parties was waning, prompting Meretz, the Labor Party and Levy-Abekasis’s more centrist Gesher Party to merge into one list for the election.

In the Israeli system, citizens vote for a party list of candidates, not for individuals, and the combined list won seven seats, three each for Meretz and Labor and a single seat for Levy-Abekasis.

Gantz’s ability to assemble a coalition of 61 seats is also in doubt because of the demands being made by the Joint List of Arab parties.

There is uncertainty if Jewish members of Gantz’s proposed coalition will be able to accept those conditions, which include a ban on Jewish visits to the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, no unilateral implementation of any of the Trump administration’s peace plan, and a stated future demand to hand over half of Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.