Ehud Barak said on Sunday that he would be willing to give up the No. 1 spot in his new party in order to form left-wing electoral bloc with Labor, Meretz and Tzipi Livni.
“We are examining the possibilities — what’s happening with Tzipi Livni, what’s happening with Meretz, Labor and others,” Barak told Kan public radio.
“What was missing last time was a large bloc that will start more to the left and encompass as many [people] as possible,” he said of the April election. The comment was an implied criticism of Blue and White party, which identified as a centrist party and fought against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s assertions that it was in reality a leftist party.
“I made it clear that we will not sit with Netanyahu in any situation or in any way, and we do not care who will be the number one, two, or three [on the electoral slate]. Our goal is to replace Netanyahu,” he stated.
In a video message on Sunday, Netanyahu dismissed Barak’s charge that he is endangering democracy and Barak’s rhetoric as “bluffs,” and said the former prime minister was a “little tyrant” who wants full control over his new Israel Democratic Party.
“He isn’t offering any democracy,” Netanyahu said, referring to the fact that other parties, including Likud, hold primaries to determine their leadership.
Reaction among Barak’s prospective allies was mixed. Labor Party leader Amir Peretz said he would be willing to join with Barak in a joint slate, and Meretz chairman Nitzan Horowitz said he’d meet to discuss possibilities with Peretz.
At Blue and White, Yair Lapid and Moshe Yaalon rejected outright the idea of combining with Barak, though Gabi Ashkenazi said he was open to it.
Meanwhile, on Sunday night, it was reported that Barak has recruited former Peace Now leader Avi Buskila to his party.
Their agreement is being finalized, and an announcement is expected in the next few days, according to Channel 13.
Buskila comes from Meretz, where he was eighth on the left-wing party’s electoral slate, which left him out of the Knesset. Given a high enough placement on Barak’s list, he might make it into the Knesset in the September elections, providing the new party makes the electoral threshold.
Updated Sunday, July 7, 2019 at 3:32 pm new member