With polls indicating a strong showing for the right in the upcoming Knesset elections, parties on the left are jockeying for position to take a leadership role in the upcoming battle against the Likud and its Knesset allies. And as parties seek to emphasize their strengths and point out the “weaknesses” of other parties, the leftist Meretz party, according to Ha'aretz, plans to attack Labor, its rival for leadership of the left, by attacking Labor leader Shelly Yechimovich – for being “too nice” to religious Israelis.
Yechimovich is known for her positive comments and attitudes to Hareidi and religious Jews; she has, among other things, advocated for the closure of all businesses on Shabbat in order to preserve the character of the Sabbath as a day of rest for workers, and to prevent businesses that open on Shabbat from having an economic advantage over those that remain closed (Yechimovich, however, is in favor of allowing restaurants, theaters, and places of entertainment remaining open on Shabbat).
When Yechimovich was elected Labor Party head last year, she said that she saw an alliance between Labor and religious parties as “natural,” pointing to previous governments where both Agudath Israel and the National Religious Party (both now morphed into United Torah Jewry and Bayit Yehudi, respectively) were members of Labor-led governments.
After being chosen Labor head, Yechimovich told Kol Chai Radio, in response to a question about what kind of government she would try to organize in the next election, that she “definitely sees [Hareidi and religious parties] as worthy partners,” despite the fact that there was a “wide ideological gulf between myself and the Hareidim.”
According to Ha'aretz, Meretz has already prepared print and electronic media ads using that quote from Yechimovich to paint her as someone who will “sell out” to the Hareidim. Voters who want a clear leftist (and secular) choice have no choice but to vote Meretz, the campaign will state.
Meretz, of course, will continue with its “traditional” tactics of attacking religious and Hareidi parties for what the party calls excess budgets, the report added.