While critics within the Likud
are largely holding off on publicly blasting the merger between their party and Yisrael Beiteinu,
politicians are mounting an attack from the Left. A new public relations campaign by the party posits that the union undermines Israel's
democratic character – and brands Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman
as "the Israeli Putin."
The campaign, which is set to go live on social networking sites on Sunday, asks voters: "Where were you during the war against the Israeli Putin?"
The initiative is based on the premise voiced by Meretz Chairwoman Zahava Gal-On,
who said that the merger has changed the political conversation ahead of the elections.
"The answer to the anti-democratic Right isn't a feeble Centrist movement, but a Left that is committed to democracy and human rights," she said.
War on the Israeli Putin? Meretz poster
Lieberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
announced on Thursday that they were uniting their two parties under one Knesset ticket. Following the announcement, Meretz began looking into the possibility of putting together a leftist-centrist bloc of their own that would challenge Netanyahu.
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The party had previously urged Labor
Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich to declare outright that she will not join a Netanyahu-led coalition, but to no avail.
Meretz officials have held talks over the weekend with various Labor Knesset members in hopes of forming an alliance. According to sources in Meretz, the MKs said they were theoretically supportive of the initiative and expressed willingness to press the Labor leader on the matter.