‘The Israelis’: Tel Aviv mayor announces new party to fill vacuum on Left

Veteran mayor tosses his hat in the ring, joined by Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn who bails from Blue and White.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai announced Tuesday he has formed a new political party and is running in the March, 2021  elections.

He has named the new party ‘The Israelis,’ a trend among left-leaning parties to clothe themselves in patriotic-sounding names, such as “Zionist Union,” ” Democratic Israel” and “Blue and White.”

“Hundreds of thousands of Israelis feel they have no home in the current political system,” Huldai said in a televised news conference. “We will raise their heads and give them back their hope. It is time to present a clear alternative.”

Huldai was joined by Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn, who earlier on Tuesday announced that he was quitting the Blue and White Party headed by Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

“I went with the ideology, I went with the values, I went with the heart,” tweeted Nissenkorn, well known in the country as the former head of the Histadrut national trade union.

Both men have long histories with the Labor Party, which appears to be on the verge of collapse after current head Amir Peretz announced he would not head the party in the coming election.

The election, Israel’s fourth in the past two years, will take place on March 23. The new party is expected to have a center-left platform and a public opinion poll published by Channel 12 news on Monday showed that if elections were held this week The Israelis would win up to 7 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, Israel’s parliament.

“We have become accustomed to a crazy government that does not know how to run anything – that the coronavirus made a joke of it and of us,” said Huldai, whose city has been hard hit economically by the pandemic. “The worst thing is to get used to it, to lower your head, to give up, to give up. I refuse to get used to this.”

Huldai was a combat fighter pilot in the Israel Air Force who fought in the 1967 Six Day War. He served in many senior positions during his 26-year military career, retiring from the air force in 1989 with the rank of Brigadier General.

He was elected mayor of Tel Aviv in 1998 and has been re-elected four times and is the longest serving mayor of a city that has earned an international reputation for tourism and high tech.

Huldai said will not resign his position as mayor until after the national election.

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