Israeli politics has seen its fair share of defections from one party to another. But Yoram Marciano broke all records Thursday when he used his inauguration speech as a Labor MK to announce his decision to leave the party and instead back Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud-Yisrael Beytenu list in the upcoming elections.
Marciano was next in line to join the ranks of Labor’s parliamentarians after Amir Peretz left Labor at the beginning of the month to join Tzipi Livni’s new Hatnua (The Movement) party.
But when he stepped up to the lectern in the Knesset plenum Thursday for his swearing-in speech, things didn’t go quite as expected.
“It’s not easy for me to stand here today and replace a friend with whom I’ve shared a long journey,” Marciano said, referring to Peretz. But, he added, “it was clear that a huge wrong was done to him [by the Labor leadership], leaving him no choice but to make the move he did.”
Labor leader “Shelly Yachimovich was informed of my resignation in a letter this morning,” he continued. “I’m not staying in the party, and I announce my support of Benjamin Netanyahu in the upcoming elections. I’ll support him in any way that I can.”
Marciano previously served as a legislator between 2006 and 2009. The fact that he wasn’t selected to Labor’s Knesset slate for the upcoming January 22 elections means that his term as a Labor MK who doesn’t support the party will be brief.
Aside from his freshly minted defection record, Marciano can also boast of another, equally dubious achievement: the most convictions for traffic violations of any MK, past or present — 70.