In the wake of a Maariv poll last week, Zionist Camp activists are urging party head Yitzchak Herzog to change the party’s left-leaning public perception and adopt more centrist planks. At a meeting Sunday night, activists identified with the political center – considered in Zionist Camp, Maariv reported, the right flank of the party – called for Zionist Camp to clearly state that it had turned its back on the Oslo Accords and other stances that the Israeli public perceive as leftist.
MK Eitan Broshi, one of the organizers of the meeting, was quoted by the paper as saying that “our fall in the polls requires that we examine our situation, and return to the center of the political map, exactly where we were in the days of David Ben Gurion and Yitzchak Rabin.
The poll last Friday showed that if elections were held now, Zionist Camp would slip to 15 seats, down from its current 24. Those seats would be picked up by Yesh Atid, which would jump to 18 seats from its current ten. The Likud remains the largest party, but loses three seats, falling from 30 in the current Knesset to 27. Those seats are picked up by Jewish Home, which rises from 8 to 12 seats.
Chareidi parties United Torah Judaism and Shas would each get seven seats, the poll said. Losing significant strength is Moshe Kachlon’s Kulanu, which drops from 11 seats to six, the same number as Meretz. Growing from its current six is Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu, which would receive 10 seats. The Joint Arab List drops from its current 13 seats to 12.
Attending the meeting were centrist Zionist Camp MKs, including Omer Bar Lev, Nachman Shai, Revital Sweid, and Itzik Shmueli, among others. Speaking before the meeting, Shai said that “Labor (the former name of Zionist Camp) is not a leftist party. We are a centrist party with left leanings, meaning that in terms of security we are as strong as anyone else, but prefer a social democratic stance on economic and social policy. The idea of emphasizing this has found a lot of support in the party. Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Likud are the ones trying to label us as leftists.”
Commenting on the poll, Herzog said “if the polls set the political reality, I would be Prime Minister right now.” Polls showed Zionist Camp as the largest party in the 2015 elections as late as a week before the polls opened.