Omer Yankelevich
Omer Yankelevich צילום: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

Diaspora Minister Omer Yankelevich, a member of the Blue and White party, will not run in the upcoming Knesset election, Yankelevich announced Tuesday afternoon.

In a Facebook post, Yankelevich wrote that she had notified party chairman and Defense Minister Benny Gantz of her decision.

The minister wrote that she had decided not to run a month ago, but had been pressed by Gantz to reconsider.

“Benny Gantz asked me to reconsider my decision. After considering it, I notified him last night that my decision was final.”

“I appreciate and respect the party chairman, Benny Gantz. Benny has led with courage, pushing for unity, honesty, and inclusion of women and various groups into the Israeli mainstream.”

Recent polls show the Blue and White party near or just below the 3.25% electoral threshold required to enter the Knesset.

The latest poll, released Tuesday morning by Radio 103FM, showed the party receiving just 2.8% of the vote, leaving it out of the next Knesset.

A close ally of Gantz within Blue and White, Yankelevich reportedly broke with Gantz recently over his opposition to extensions of the ongoing coronavirus lockdown.

During a party meeting Sunday, Yankelevich pushed back on Gantz's demand that the lockdown be extended no longer than Thursday, and criticized his call to have restrictions lifted immediately with the end of the lockdown.

“People will die if there are leniencies,” Yankelevich said.

Gantz responded angrily, saying: “I know which experts you’ve been talking with. What they’re offering is suitable for New Zealand, not Israel. In Israel it seems that the majority rules, not the law. We want one law for every place, for Beitar Illit and Modi’in Illit, as well as for Modi’in.”