Former MK’s offer of joint Knesset run rebuffed by social media activist party head

Hadar Muchtar pours cold water on potential alliance with Eli Avidar reportedly due to desire to appeal to broad range of youth, wariness over ex-lawmaker’s opposition to Netanyahu

MK Eli Avidar speaks during a press conference at the Knesset on August 15, 2022. (Oren Ben Hakoon/Flash90)
MK Eli Avidar speaks during a press conference at the Knesset on August 15, 2022. (Oren Ben Hakoon/Flash90)

Former Yisrael Beytenu MK Eli Avidar was rebuffed by young activist Hadar Muchtar after he reached out to her with an offer to unite their two parties on a joint slate in the November 1 elections, Hebrew media reported Wednesday.

Citing unnamed sources, the Walla news site said that Hadar Muchtar, who chairs the Fiery Youth party, rejected the suggestion of a joint run with the Israel Free and Democratic party due to her goal of appealing to a broad range of Israeli youth, as well as the vocal opposition of Avidar, 57, to former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Muchtar confirmed the report, but Avidar’s spokesperson refused to comment.

As Israeli law requires Knesset members be at least 21 years old, Muchtar, 20, is planning to select eligible candidates to represent her on the party’s electoral slate.

Fiery Youth is running on a platform of combating the surging cost of living and corruption. The party also advocates greater public involvement in the political process by holding referendums on a number of issues.

The activist has gone viral on the social media platform TikTok for her videos calling out bread and butter issues such as rising prices and crumbling infrastructure in the country’s periphery.

Fiery Youth chair Hadar Muchtar speaks at a meeting of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, June 27, 2022. (Screenshot/YouTube)

Avidar, until recently a member of Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party, rebelled against his former faction and the outgoing coalition several times, before ultimately forming his own faction.

Both Israel Free and Democratic and Fiery Youth are currently polling below the 3.25% vote threshold, meaning they are unlikely to pick up any seats in the upcoming election.

Avidar’s offer to the young activist marks his latest attempt to bolster his chances of winning a seat in the Knesset, in the face of the disappointing survey numbers.

Channel 12 news reported on Saturday that Avidar also reached out to MK Mansour Abbas’s Islamist Ra’am party about a joint run. The report was confirmed by Avidar’s spokesperson, but Ra’am declined to comment.

According to the network, Ra’am has not ruled out running with Avidar, but has yet to make a decision on whether to bring in a Jewish candidate. The report also noted that Avidar’s fierce opposition to Netanyahu could work against him, with Ra’am wanting to maintain the possibility of future cooperation with Likud.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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