The Labor Party announced on Thursday evening that former MK Orly Levy-Abekasis will merge her Gesher Party with the Labor party headed by Amir Peretz. Both lists will run together in the upcoming election.
Levy-Abekasis served in the past as a member of the Knesset in the Yisrael Beyteinu party. In the last elections, she headed the Gesher party, which received 74,701 votes but failed to pass the threshold.
Labor Party chairman MK Amir Peretz and Levy-Abekasis held a joint press conference at Beit Sokolov in Tel Aviv on Thursday evening.
"I feel that at this moment, an alliance of renewal is forming," Peretz said. "We've found the way to unite and build a political home for all Israelis."
"I stand with excitement and great pride, with Orly Levi Abekasis standing next to me, a pioneering woman with a broad view of social justice and not of charity, of the state's responsibility for the fate of the elderly, the handicapped and young couples."
"The political framework that is being built here in front of us will change the rules," Peretz stressed. "The walls of the passages between the camps are falling now."
Meretz attacked Peretz on his decision to run together with Levy-Abekasis. MK Issawi Frej (Meretz) said that "Amir Peretz chose the Right. He chose to say no to Meretz and yes to someone who built her political career as a fig leaf which is not particularly effective for racism and incitement. With someone who was elected to the Knesset due to incitement and racist campaigns. With someone who left Yisrael Beyteinu, not because of the racism or corruption of this party, but only because she wasn't appointed as a minister."
The Meretz party added that "Peretz is crushing the possibility of a unification of the left bloc. He chose to refuse a merger of Meretz to the Labor Party. Instead of a large bloc, he chose a small defense."
Blue and White chairman, Benny Gantz, praised the merger of Levy-Abekasis with Labor. "Orly is a social leader and it's good for the state of Israel that she'll be in the Knesset."
Peretz also tried to recruit former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni to join the Labor party but she declined the offer.