With less than three weeks left before the national elections, Labor
Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich and Hatnua
Chairwoman Tzipi Livni have signaled that they are entertaining the possibility of joining forces to topple Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Shortly after Livni announced in a Channel 2 interview that she intends to seek meetings with fellow centrist party leaders, she received a text message from Yachimovich inviting her to meet at the latter's home.
In the interview, Livni called for the creation of a formidable centrist bloc that would make sure the next government isn't a "radical, extremist and ultra-orthodox" one. She further promised to contact Yachimovich and Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid
as soon as Saturday to discuss such an endeavor.
"Especially in light of the public's despair, we, as leaders, cannot give up," she said. "The fact that the Likud-Beiteinu
is dropping in the polls poses an opportunity to join forces… I call on Yair Lapid and Shelly Yachimovich to work together to generate hope and create an effective political force that would replace Netanyahu."
Yachimovich and Livni (Archive photo: Motti Kimchi)
Livni said that a joint centrist bloc would be larger than the Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu parties, which have merged ahead of the elections.
"I have no doubt that the creation of such a bloc will convince many of the undecided to vote (for us)," she said.
The leader of the Hatnua movement said that Israel is in trouble, and urged "anyone who values the future of the state and refuses to tolerate the status quo to work together."
"This is a battle for the state's character," she added. "I'm sure that Shelly and Yair agree that we need to seek a new direction, act responsibly and decide together on a way to replace the government."
Shortly after the interview aired, Yachimovich released a statement saying that she has invited Livni, via text message, to meet her on Saturday night.
The Labor party suggested in the statement that the invitation was made in light of the "increasing likelihood that Yachimovich will be putting together the next government."
Chairwoman Zahava Gal-On said that her party welcomes the initiative.
If the three party leaders unite and decide on a leader, Meretz would endorse that candidate, she said.