Left-Wing Parties Rush to Avoid Extinction

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Amir Peretz speaks at a Labor-Gesher meeting at the Knesset. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Two small, left-wing parties facing extinction met on Sunday to negotiate a pact for mutual survival.

Labor-Gesher and Meretz, looking at polls showing them both perilously close to the electoral threshold, said they were on their way to a deal for a joint run for Knesset, according to media reports on Sunday night.

If so, it will be a triumph of political pragmatism over cherished ideological differences. “We have no choice but to unite,” Labor co-chair Amir Peretz told his people ahead of a meeting with Meretz and Democratic Camp head Nitzan Horowitz.

A flurry of inter-party meetings precedes the Wednesday deadline for filing electoral slates with the Central Elections Committee.

Labor MK Itzik Shmuli said on Sunday morning that he supported a merger, but only as a “technical bloc” that could separate and go their independent ways after the elections.

A source with direct knowledge of the negotiations told The Times of Israel that Peretz and Horowitz were set to meet “in order to discuss all options on the table.”

A proposal made last week by Peretz for a broader alliance that would include Blue and White was rebuffed by the latter’s chairman Benny Gantz.