Amir Peretz
Amir PeretzKobi Richter/TPS

Labor Party chairman MK Amir Peretz addressed the spread of the coronavirus at a faction meeting today. "I appeal to the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance to increase the emergency budget for [fighting] the spread of the coronavirus," Peretz said.

"In addition to the measures announced yesterday, companies forced to lay off employees should be allowed to continue reimbursing them for paid leave using Social Security unemployment benefits. Employees in home isolation [should be] granted sick leave."

Peretz added, "Yesterday I met with Blue and White chairman MK Benny Gantz. The meeting went smoothly. We discussed the challenges facing the State of Israel and ways of forming a new government."

"As I announced prior to the elections, I support the establishment of a narrow government led by MK Benny Gantz with the support of the Joint List," Peretz stated. "The move is facing challenges from within the [left-wing] parties, and the announcement by [Gesher chairman MK] Orly Levi-Abekasis [that she will not support a government with the Joint List] increases these. Despite the difficult feelings, I continue to contact MK Abekasis and hope for future coordination with her."

"I will not support a narrow Netanyahu-led right-wing government. [We have] a number of significant steps ahead of us, the first of which is making a recommendation for prime minister to President Rivlin this Sunday." Peretz urged other members of the left-wing bloc to recommend Gantz.

The former trade union head and Defense Minister during the 2006 Second Lebanon War said, "I would like to appeal to all political activists from all parties, and urge them to maintain restraint and not cross red lines. I strongly condemn threats made against MK Orly Levi-Abekasis."

Meretz Chairman MK Nitzan Horowitz stated in his remarks, "The coronavirus [should not] provide legal or political immunity for [PM] Netanyahu. His trial is set to begin this [coming] Tuesday. He doesn't have [the right] to continue in his role and the panic surrounding the coronavirus will not hide his ongoing attempt to crush the rule of law."

Horowitz asserted that "The Corona crisis actually exposes Netanyahu's long-standing failures that neglected the health care system."

"We are determined to form a government headed by MK Benny Gantz. That was our biggest promise and it's our goal today. I expect all members of the [left-wing bloc] to stand by their word. Whoever fails to do so should return their Knesset seat," Horowitz stated.