Labor MK: Netanyahu destroyed the left-wing camp

MK Merav Michaeli: The public wants the same things we believe in, including pluralism, equality and two states.

Shimon Cohen ,

MK Merav Michaeli
MK Merav Michaeli
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

The Labor Party is preparing for primaries and for the race for the party leadership. Arutz Sheva spoke with MK Merav Michaeli, who is running for the Labor leadership, about her plans for the day after the election if she is elected, and about the circumstances that led the party to its current dismal situation, where most polls show it failing to pass the electoral threshold.

"If Amir Peretz had not brought the party to a fight over the holding of primaries, I have no doubt that Ofer Shelah would have come to run and maybe even [Ron] Huldai would have come. But since Peretz and [Itzik] Shmuli are trying their best to prevent primaries, then only people like me, who truly believe in Labor these days, are here," she said.

Asked what led the party to its current position, Michaeli replied that "the party is not alone in this grave situation but together with the entire center-left camp. As a party which led this camp throughout the years of the state, it is a victim of severe violence on the part of the right and Netanyahu, though not the entire right is to blame and this needs to be said. Certainly, the camp’s leaders have also made mistakes."

Michaeli stressed that "nothing is personal. I have nothing personal against Netanyahu. I speak from a place of values ​​of what is required of Israeli society, so what interests me is the future. In the future we need a government which is not right-wing and which is not only not corrupt, but one that will begin the vision we see today in the vaccination campaign in the health maintenance organizations that were created by the Labor Party. The state must be concerned for its citizens, no matter if they are strong or weak, regardless of clothing, place of residence, color or rabbinical interpretation of their Judaism. This is what the State of Israel desparately needs, and I intend to bring this vision to the Labor Party."

"There was an unbearable gap between the vision of the Labor Party and what it actually did. They talked about one thing and then joined the Netanyahu government or another right-wing government and it caused a deep rift in the party's credibility, and rightly so. I bring leadership that brings the truth back to politics. Everyone knows what I believe in and that I work for it without folding and without lying."

“I am not saying we can return the party to be a ruling party in the immediate future, but public attitudes are in line with what we want and not with what the right wants,” claimed Michaeli. “The public wants equality, pluralism, religious freedom, civil marriage and a majority, even if not a large one, even supports the two-state solution. We should take all the excellent agreements that Netanyahu made, courtesy of Trump, and leverage them not only for a solution with distant countries but also for the bloody conflict here. That is the urgent thing to do."

"Before the peace agreement with Egypt, no one believed there would be an agreement with Egypt. The same thing will happen with the Palestinians. It is in Israel's interest to stop engaging in conflict, to set a border and Israel knows how to defend its borders."

Asked about the possibility of unity among the parties in the center-left camp, Michaeli replied, "Everyone will do the right thing and work to maximize power in the best possible way, and I too will do the responsible thing for the benefit of the entire bloc and not just for the benefit of the Labor Party. I am interested in working for the state and its citizens and need to find the best way to do so. This is not about ego, but rather about a shattered camp. Netanyahu has a lot of responsibility for this, but so does the leadership of the camp. I'm sure the camp will be organized and everyone will show responsibility, but my first task is for the Labor Party to be part of the story. That is not the case at the moment.”