Photo: Avihu Shapira
Gabi Ashkenazi, Yair Lapid, Benny Gantz and Moshe Ya'alon
Photo: Avihu Shapira
Blue and White platform is making elections interesting again
Opinion: The party founded by Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid strives to be neither left nor right but rather a mixture of everything so as to sway voters from both sides; but its agenda must be realistic in order not to sell lies to the public.
The era of party platforms seemed as though it had passed. The newly established political parties, therefore, should be commended for putting in an enormous amount of effort and writing hundreds of pages, explaining their positions on various issues. In the Likud party, however, it has been years since an official platform has been unveiled. And why do they even need it? There is Benjamin Netanyahu, and everyone simply adjusts their positions according to him. Netanyahu is the medium. Netanyahu is the message.



On Monday, the Blue and White party platform was made public (before its official unveiling on Tuesday evening). The platform was prepared by a committee of representatives of the party's collective leadership. The platform leans neither left nor right, and consists of bits and pieces taken from everything and everywhere. I sat down to read this melting pot created by Ofer Shelah and Yoaz Hendel, who themselves have more things dividing them than uniting them. And they are not the only ones. 


What does Moshe Ya'alon, who wants another million settlers, have in common with Michael Biton, who wants to evacuate a million settlers? Or, between Yael German, a former Meretz MK, and Zvi Hauser, the initiator of the contentious Nation-State Law? You couldn't find a common denominator between any of them if you used a magnifying glass.


 Gabi Ashkenazi, Yair Lapid, Benny Gantz and Moshe Ya'alon  (Photo: Effi Sharir)
Gabi Ashkenazi, Yair Lapid, Benny Gantz and Moshe Ya'alon (Photo: Effi Sharir)


Here are some of my conclusions: On the issue of separation between religion and state, the agenda is particularly fascinating because it copies in its entirety the platform of co-founder Yair Lapid on the issue—public transportation on Shabbat in secular cities and places where no offense would be caused to the religious sector. The same is true when it comes to the Surrogacy Law, which currently does not allow gay men in a relationship or single men who wish to become fathers the opportunity to pursue surrogacy parenthood in Israel.


The platform also seeks to abolish the Supermarket Law (which enforces the closure of grocery stores on Shabbat), implement the IDF draft bill (seeking to draft the ultra-Orthodox into the military) as well as the law seeking to enforce the teaching of core curriculum subjects—Hebrew, English, Science and Maths—in ultra-Orthodox educational institutions.


I rubbed my eyes in disbelief. Now this election campaign is becoming really interesting! Let's carefully monitor this "all-inclusive" party. Lapid said only a week ago that his party would not form a government coalition with the Arab parties, insisting on a coalition of Zionist parties. Then Gantz said over the weekend that "joining a Netanyahu government is not on the agenda."


Now their platform takes a step further and eliminates all the ultra-Orthodox parties—perhaps even the religious ones—from that list as well. Do they seriously believe that a bloc of Blue and White, Labor and Meretz will between them pull in 61 Knesset seats? Because it’s fairly obvious to anyone with half a brain that they would have no option but to form a coalition government after the elections.


In the diplomatic sphere, it’s clear Gantz’s party is aiming to sway wavering Likud voters, since if they actually want to win, it’s crucial for them to steal four or five seats from the right-wing. That is why we’re seeing the views of the Blue and White leftists slowly softening in favor of a more "pragmatic platform,” because “there is no chance of establishing a Palestinian state in the near future anyway," said the party sources. So which is it - peace with the Palestinians or a binational state?


The addition of Avi Nissenkorn—a close friend of Moshe Kahlon and Histadrut labor federation chairman—to Gantz's party has raised quite a few eyebrows. The commentators assumed that Gantz wants the votes of the Histadrut members but this assumption swiftly evaporated after the lukewarm reception for Yair Lapid's speech at the Histadrut conference. Nonetheless, even though the labor federation protects only the largest and strongest unions in the economy, the platform suggests starting “a dialogue with the Histadrut for the purpose of creating flexibility in the public sector."


I am sure the people who wrote the platform had good intentions, but the party ought to have a realistic attitude about its prospects, otherwise they are just pulling the wool over the public’s eyes.


Limor Livnat is a former Likud MK and minister


פרסום ראשון: 03.05.19, 17:16
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