Merav Michaeli
Merav MichaeliHezki Baruch

A Monday morning editorial by the left-wing Haaretz newspaper warned that Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli's (Labor) opposition to a joint run with Meretz may harm the center-left's chance at forming the next government.

Michaeli heads the Labor party, and has stated in the past that she will not agree to a joint run with Meretz, which will now be headed by former MK Zehava Galon.

According to the editorial, "Otzma Yehudit and Religious Zionism parties on Friday reached an agreement to run together for the Knesset - after a meeting between [MK] Bezalel Smotrich (Religious Zionism), [MK] Itamar Ben-Gvir (Otzma Yehudit), and opposition leader [MK] Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud), who served as a negotiator. This is how the camp works - that all of its parts are enlisted into the bloc victory. They overcome their ideological differences, they unite for the sake of victory in the elections, and they leave their internal differences of opinion to discussions around the government table."

The editorial continued, "At the same time, in the bloc of [interim Prime Minister] Yair Lapid, the head of the Labor party, Merav Michaeli, fortifies her opposition to the requested unity between the Labor party and Meretz. This is a dangerous gamble. If one of these two parties does not pass the electoral threshold - according to the polls, we cannot rule that possibility out - then the Netanyahu bloc is promised victory."

"It is not clear from where Michaeli draws her confidence that neither party is in danger. According to the polls and the picture of the left's declining power in Israel and the world, it seems that her confidence is not based in reality, but in her heart's desires and her ambitious goals to be prime minister."

According to Haaretz, Lapid needs to use his position to "increase the pressure on Michaeli, and she, for her part, must recover herself. Michaeli is taking a dangerous gamble, which may end in political tragedy. As the one responsible for the bloc, Lapid must clarify to Michaeli that a union between Labor and Meretz is the call of the hour."

"Lately, Lapid has begun to express himself on the matter and to speak about the importance of a technical bloc on the left, and has noted that in all of the polls in which Netanyahu receives 61 Knesset seats, it is because one of the left-wing parties did not pass the threshold. Lapid must increase the pressure on Michaeli, and she in turn must recover herself. Michaeli is taking a dangerous gamble, which may end in political tragedy."