Yesh Atid Turns on Small, Center-Left Parties

YERUSHALAYIM -
A Meretz campaign poster reads: Forbidden to Destroy Meretz, Sunday in Tel Aviv. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Yesh Atid has turned on its fellow center-left parties, launching an overt campaign to take votes away from Labor, Blue and White and Meretz.

Until now, there’s been an unofficial truce among the parties, who compete for overlapping constituencies. But on Sunday that changed when Yesh Atid put out a different message:

“Netanyahu failed, because he cared only about himself and not the state,” the message said. “All those who took part in the bloated and wasteful government left Netanyahu in the Prime Minister’s Residence. You cannot replace the government with parties with five seats and parties with six seats cannot save democracy. Big changes can only be made if Yesh Atid is large.”

Labor, Blue and White and Meretz have been wallowing in single digits in recent polls, and the latter two are skirting the electoral threshold of 3.25% of the overall vote to get into the Knesset.

Yesh Atid has been polling at 19-20 seats, but if it succeeds in siphoning votes from those small parties, it could close some of the gap with Likud, which has been getting has been at 27-29 in the polls.

Sources in the Labor Party told Channel 12 that if Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid persists in this new line, it will retaliate.

”We have prepared an entire campaign on Yair Lapid’s back-and-forth over the years. Piles of videos. Currently, the campaign has been shelved. If Lapid continues to act irresponsibly towards the bloc, we will not hesitate to use these,” claimed the sources.

Meanwhile, tensions on the right between Likud and New Hope led to violence. Likud activists threw eggs and other projectiles at New Hope supporters during the latters’ rally on Motzei Shabbos, one of whom had to be evacuated by ambulance, according to The Jerusalem Post.

The Likud agitators surrounded the car of New Hope leader Gideon Saar and tried to damage it.

As a result, the party said on Sunday that the security detail around Saar has been increased.

Saar, whose departure from Likud to start his party to challenge Netanyahu’s leadership, has caused strong resentment in the Likud, and shouts of “traitor” were heard during the incident.

Saar accused Prime Minister Netanyahu of sending the activists to disrupt the rally. But he asserted that doing so was a sign that Netanyahu was taking New Hope seriously as a political threat.

“There has been no condemnation by Netanyahu,” Saar on Kan Radio on Sunday morning. “Whoever sends bullies to harm a rally and use violence to threaten people feels threatened by us.”