Israel’s three largest parties have announced that they are suspending their election campaigns in the wake of the launch of the Gaza Strip operation Saturday.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said he is halting his involvement in the Labor Party’s election campaign. Barak’s office said that “the situation in the south requires the defense minister to focus his entire attention on defense activity, and he is detaching himself from the campaign until further notice.”
Kadima adopted a similar approach, with campaign chief Knesset Member Dalia Itzik telling Ynet that she is calling on all parties to suspend their political activity in face of the fighting in the south.
“On this day, we are all the IDF and we are all residents of the western Negev,” she said. “There is no room for politics and we all need to unite behind the Israel Defense Force and the defense establishment.”
Itzik added that the “political establishment conducted itself completely irresponsibly by dragging Israel into a needless elections campaign in such difficult and complex period in economic and security terms,” she said.
Meanwhile, Likud canceled all campaign events planned for Saturday evening in the wake of the IDF assault. Among other things, the launch of Likud’s Young Guard campaign in Tel Aviv, slated to include Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu touring local bars, was postponed. The Likud said that “the movement offers its support to IDF soldiers and commanders.”
Likud also decided to suspend a negative campaign against Kadima leader Tzipi Livni that was scheduled to get underway Sunday. Several billboards that were posted over the weekend were to be removed as a result of the decision.