A familiar face has introduced something new into the upcoming Israeli elections in September. Former prime minister Ehud Barak has formed a new party ahead of those elections and is working to unite the most left-wing Zionist parties behind him.
Barak characterized his new party as a challenge to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and for the moment, that’s what it is. But it is also an effort to unseat Avigdor Liberman from his position as kingmaker. Liberman has thrown the Israeli electoral system into disarray by essentially demanding that Likud, without Netanyahu, and Benny Gantz’s and Yair Lapid’s Blue and White coalition form a unity government. Read more at LobeLog
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today brought the one right wing party in the opposition, Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party, into the government. This capped a tumultuous period where Netanyahu appeared to be courting the centrist Zionist Union party, raising a great deal of anger within that party from members, including most of the party leadership, that opposed such a deal.
MK Stav Shaffir, the #3 on the list of Labor Party MKs (Labor is the largest party in Zionist Union) has already been vocal in her opposition to joining the government. Now that the episode appears to have reached its conclusion, she issued a statement, in Hebrew, on her Facebook page calling on Herzog to resign.
I translate that statement here. Any errors in translation are obviously mine. Read Stav’s statement at Medium.com
MK Stav Shaffir, the #3 on the Labor Party list in Israel, has long made it clear that she opposes her party’s entry into the governing coalition headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. She is far from alone in this. Many notable Knesset Members from the Zionist Union party (which is composed of the Labor Party and the smaller Ha’Tnuah party), including #2 Shelly Yachimovich and Ha’Tnuah head Tzipi Livni among others, have made it clear that they oppose such a decision.
MK Shaffir put her statement on her Facebook page. It in Hebrew only, and I have translated it below. Any inaccuracies in translation are fully my own. Continue reading at Medium.com
You know who could lead Labor to not only a victory of most Knesset seats, but perhaps even a liberal revival in Israel and a governing coalition without the right? Not Herzog, not Livni, certainly not Yachimovich, and not, as much as I admire her, Zehava Galon. It is Stav Shafir who can do that. I paste below a brief exchange between Shaffir and Benjamin Netanyahu on Twitter a short while ago. English translation follows the Hebrew (and it’s my translation, so forgive any flaws, please).
כשאנחנו מדברים על מחירי הדיור, על יוקר המחייה, אני לרגע לא שוכח את החיים עצמם. האתגר הגדול ביותר לחיינו כעת הוא התחמשות איראן בנשק גרעיני
@netanyahu שש שנים ומסר אחד יש לך לבני ובנות הדור שלי: תגידו תודה שאתם בחיים ותשתקו. מצטערת, ביבי, החיים שלנו שווים הרבה יותר מהתירוצים האלה
האתגרים של אזרחי ישראל הם רבים. אי אפשר להפריד בין האתגר הבטחוני לאתגרי היום יום שהולכים ומתרבים. זה היה התפקיד שלך לפתור, ונכשלת
Netanyahu: When we speak about housing prices, on the cost of living, I do not forget for one minute the lives themselves. The greatest challenge to our lives right now is a nuclear Iran.
Shaffir: Six years, and you have only one message to the sons and daughters of my generation: Say “thank you” that you are alive and shut up. Sorry, Bibi, our lives are worth a lot more than these excuses. There are a great many challenges for the citizens of Israel. It is impossible to separate the security challenge and the everyday challenges that are multiplying. This was YOUR problem to solve, and you failed.
Mitchell Plitnick: And that’s why I am so very impressed with Stav Shaffir.