Yesh Atid MK: We Don't Boycott Meretz

MK Ofer Shelah says his party will do anything to prevent a coalition with Netanyahu and the "extreme rightists".

Ido Ben Porat and Elad Benari ,

MK Ofer Shelah
MK Ofer Shelah
Israel news photo: Flash 90

MK Ofer Shelah of Yesh Atid, considered a close associated of party chairman Yair Lapid, on Wednesday echoed recent comments made by other Yesh Atid members that the party was leaning leftward.

In an interview with Haaretz, Shelah was asked who Yesh Atid would recommend as Prime Minister after the elections.

"We keep saying that we will do everything so that a coalition with Netanyahu, the extreme right and the haredim will not be in power after the elections - and from that it is clear who we will prefer to recommend in a political situation like the one described," he replied.

"Of course we do not boycott Meretz, just as we do not boycott any other party,” stressed Shelah.

In the interview, Shelah was asked whether Yesh Atid regretted the pact it made with Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett following the last election, that neither party will enter the coalition without the other, thus imposing a very specific coalition make up on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

"There were common interests between us and the Jewish Home when forming the government. I never called it an alliance and when asked about it at the time, I said that ‘alliance’ is a term used by kindergarten children and not in politics,” he said.

Shelah noted that the obvious differences between the secularist Yesh Atid and the religious Zionist Jewish Home indeed surfaced during the term of the government, "and there we acted according to our world view and our political power.”

"In any case, when the government was formed, there was no other alternative government in which we could have realized our promises to the voters,” he added.

Shelah’s comments follow a series of similar remarks by Yesh Atid members over the past several days that are indicative of the party’s leftist nature.

Former Education Minister Shi Piron said Sunday that his party would prefer that Labor chairman Yitzhak Herzog head the next government over Netanyahu.

"There are democratic election results. At the moment we believe that replacing Netanyahu is the right thing," Piron told Galey Yisrael radio.

 “We are now at the end of three terms of Binyamin Netanyahu as prime minister, I think it’s time to test a new way and a new leadership in Israel,” he continued.

Former Science and Technology Minister Yaakov Peri similarly said on Monday that he has not ruled out sitting in a coalition with the far left.

"When a coalition forms, there is nothing that would prevent Yesh Atid from sitting with Meretz in that same government," he said.

Though Lapid has so far refused to publicly express support for Herzog, Yesh Atid’s campaign so far has focused on attacking the right and specifically Netanyahu as “a weak and failed prime minister”. Lapid has made alleged “corruption” in other parties a central issue in his campaign. He recently gave a speech in which he slammed this “corruption” and pointed out Netanyahu.