Yaalon’s Telem Gets New Recruits

YERUSHALAYIM -
A large campaign poster depicting Moshe “Boogie” Yaalon, in Tel Aviv during the last election cycle. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Now that Moshe Yaalon’s Telem party is on its own, having split from Yesh Atid, recruitment for its electoral slate is under way for the March elections.

Former science and technology minister Izhar Shay, one of several recent emigres from Blue and White, announced Sunday that he’s joining Telem.

In an online post, Shay said he’ll serve as Yaalon’s “righthand man in creating a political home for liberal democrats in Israel” seeking to oust Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu‏‏ from office.

Doctors union chief Hagai Levine resigned as a member of the government coronavirus czar’s expert panel over the weekend in order to run under the Telem banner.

Levine, a Hebrew University professor and chairman of the Israel Association of Public Health Physicians, said Sunday morning that he was joining the party because, “I believe in the proven leadership” of Yaalon, who served as IDF chief of staff, Defense Minister and the established Telem, which merged with Yesh Atid.

“I, like most public health experts in Israel, believe that the Israeli public has fallen victim to the misconception of decision-makers at the political level,” said Levine, a prominent opponent of the national lockdowns.

“Despite various efforts by us and other officials in the Health Ministry to promote a public-driven health approach to dealing with the crisis, this approach has not been tried in Israel. Instead of a totalitarian police approach, there should have been real cooperation and transparency with the public,” he said.

Though the latest polls show Yesh Atid-Telem getting 13-14 seats if elections were held now, data isn’t available yet on how Telem will fare on its own. However, expectations are that it will win 4-5 seats, if it clears the electoral threshold at all.