Labor: Debt Payment Not Part of Gesher Deal

YERUSHALAYIM -

The Labor party denied on Monday reports that it had agreed to cover debts incurred in the previous election campaign by Orly Levy-Abekasis’ Gesher party as part of her deal to run with Labor in September.

The Kan public broadcaster cited senior sources in Labor who said that they would take on Gesher’s debt, though no specific amount was mentioned.

Both parties issued denials: “The information about covering Gesher’s debts is false information,” the party said in a statement reported by Kan. “Not a shekel will be transferred from Labor to Gesher nor from Gesher to Labor. The work will be carried out according to the accepted rules and state comptroller directives.”

Levy-Abekasis’s office said that the entire story was baseless, since the party has no debts: “The party has no past debts and the agreement stipulates that they will only pay the future expenses of the Gesher party headquarters.”

Meanwhile, disgruntlement within Labor continued to be heard on Monday over an agreement that closes the door to allying with Meretz, which had been reportedly on the verge of signing onto a joint list with Labor.

The agreement, approved by the Labor governing committee on Sunday, reportedly reserves second place on the joint list for Levy-Abekasis as well as the 7th and 10th slots for Gesher party members. Gesher members are also allotted the 14th, 17th, and 20th slots, although the joint movement, which has not yet been named, is unlikely to win that many seats in the Knesset, The Times of Israel reported.

There is a widespread feeling that Gesher got much the better of the deal.

“A party that didn’t beat the threshold managed to get reserved places without any relation to its real political power,” a senior Labor official was quoted as saying by Ynet on Monday. “Amir [Peretz] sold us out.”