Levy refuses to support Joint List-backed minority gov't

Gesher leader says no longer committed to partnership with Meretz, claims union was forced on her, Labor by Blue & White; fellow lawmaker Zandberg calls statement 'disgraceful', demands Levy resigns
Yuval Karni|
Labor-Gesher-Meretz MK Orly Levy said on Tuesday that she would refuse to sit in a minority center-left government, backed by the predominately-Arab Joint List.
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  • Levy said in a Facebook post that a Joint List-backed minority government “violates basic norms and values,” and she no longer sees herself committed to the partnership with Meretz.
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    ח"כ אורלי לוי אבקסיס
    ח"כ אורלי לוי אבקסיס
    Labor-Gesher-Meretz MK Orly Levy
    (Photo: Avi Moalem)
    Without specifically naming Blue & White chairman Benny Gantz, Levy accused him of breaking his promise to voters and “being shamefully willing to pay any price to anybody to form a minority government.”
    “We are all witnessing leaders that promised to act in a trustworthy and responsible manner, involved in recent days in shameful lobbying and willing to pay any price to anybody to put together a minority government,” Levy said. “It is no less alarming that far-reaching decisions like negotiating with the Joint List, including Balad, are being taken by a small group who feel they speak on behalf of the entire (center-left) bloc.”
    I will not support a government that leans on the Joint List and Balad and I don’t see myself continuing to be committed to the partnership with Meretz,” she said and added that the merger was forced on her and Labor party leader Amir Peretz by Blue & White.
    Levy said she informed Peretz of her decision after the election.
    2 View gallery
    עמיר פרץ ואורלי לוי אבקסיס בחניכת מטה הבחירות של מפלגת העבודה-גשר
    עמיר פרץ ואורלי לוי אבקסיס בחניכת מטה הבחירות של מפלגת העבודה-גשר
    Orly Levy and Labor chairman Amir Peretz
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
    However, Levy had previously indicated she would not be opposed to sitting in a government supported by the Joint List.
    “I have no problem with them supporting from outside on social issues,” Levy said last month. “We will form a government whose basic guidelines will include issues for (all) citizens.”
    Levy's statement came as it becomes more apparent that Gantz is rapidly firming up plans to present a government for Knesset's approval made up of Blue & White, Yisrael Beytenu and Labor-Gesher-Meretz, with Joint List giving their backing from outside the coalition.
    Fellow center-left bloc lawmaker, Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg, slammed Levy about-face and called her statement "shameful."
    "Orly Levy's relationship with the elected representatives of the Arab community is disgraceful and racist," Zandberg said. "The fact she was elected to Knesset on our backs – with the votes of the men and women who are committed to a Gantz-led government and Arab-Jewish cooperation – demands of her to leave her post and quit. She has no right to prevent a left-wing government."
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