MK Orly Levi-Abekasis, number two on the joint Labor-Gesher list, on Wednesday morning responded to Labor Chairman MK Amir Peretz's proposal to unite the left-wing parties ahead of March 2020's elections.
Speaking to Galei Zahal Radio, Levi-Abekasis emphasized that "if the purpose is to save Meretz - that's the responsibility of Gantz."
"Amir Peretz's proposal saves the same bloc that [Blue and White Chairman MK] Benny Gantz wants to lead," she said. "If we're saying that there is a danger that Meretz won't pass the electoral threshold, and I don't believe that - then they should start acting like people who believe their own message."
"The connection between myself and Amir and Labor is a long-term connection which aims to achieve a historical rectification. If the purpose is to save Meretz from falling below the electoral threshold, then that is first and foremost the responsibility of the one leading the bloc. I see the quiet from Blue and White in response to Peretz's proposal. When you say that Benny Gantz is turning to the right and Meretz is not a legitimate part of his government, his voters need to know that. Who will pay the price?"
Regarding Blue and White's offer to place her in their list, Levi-Abekasis said: "Playing musical chairs like this is not serious. I am not willing to take part in it. The connection between myself and Amir is because someone needs to take [responsibility for] the social issues. Why are you not asking me about the collapsing health system? I'm interested in that."
Regarding the possibility that Peretz would decide to give in and join with Meretz, Levi-Abekasis said: "I'm not threatening him with a gun. He's the party leader. I trust his rationale. You're saying, 'Let's save Meretz so that Benny Gantz can form a government.' If Benny Gantz thinks that Meretz might hurt the government he wants to form with [Transportation Minister Bezalel] Smotrich (National Union) - let him say that. Let's wait for his reaction and see where things stand. He owes it to his voters."
Later on Wednesday, Gantz said: "I met this morning with [Labor Chairman MK Amir] Peretz and [Meretz Chairman MK Nitzan] Horowitz, and I told both of them that Blue and White will continue to provide an alternative leadership in the center of the map, and that it will not join with other parties from the right or left