Left-wing Meretz party chairwoman Zahava Gal-On said Saturday that the current Israeli government was unwilling to truly advance peace with the Palestinians. Speaking ahead of the start of Passover on Monday night, Gal-On likened the heads of the coalition – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud), Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu), Economics and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) and Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) to the “four sons” of the Passover Haggadah — with a twist.
“I believe we can replace the coalition of Netanyahu, Bennett, Liberman and Lapid: the modern variation of the four sons – wicked, wicked, wicked and the one who does not know how to quit,” Gal-On told a gathering of Meretz’s youth movement in Kibbutz Hatzor, with the last a presumed reference to Lapid.
The current coalition, Gal-On said, “has no interest in advancing the peace process.” She said she believed it was possible to replace the government with one which would move the process forward.
The Meretz party is a member of the Knesset opposition and holds six seats in parliament.
A well-known story in the Haggadah tells of four sons: One wise, one wicked, one simple and one who does not know how to ask. The story is a metaphor for different approaches to the Torah and the Passover Seder.
On Friday, senior Israeli officials said the likelihood that derailed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks would get back on track before expiring at the end of April was virtually zero.
“There is no chance of the negotiations restarting in the coming weeks,” unnamed officials were quoted by Channel 10 saying. They pointed to Special Envoy Martin Indyk’s return home to the US from the region ahead of the Passover holiday, and Jerusalem’s levying of economic sanctions against the Palestinian Authority, as indicating there was almost no prospect of the current impasse being broken and for talks to be extended past the current April 29 deadline.
According to Channel 2, the American-mediated negotiations-about-negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians will only restart after Passover, the week-long festival that begins on Monday night. And for the time being there is no agreement over the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails or the freeing of American-Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard from federal prison — elements of a deal that Kerry has been trying to broker to persuade the sides to continue their talks in the coming months.
Earlier this week, Kerry appeared to focus primary blame for the collapse of the talks on Israel, for having failed to release a scheduled fourth and final group of security prisoners at the end of March, and then for announcing new building plans in East Jerusalem. “The prisoners were not released by Israel on the day they were supposed to be released and then another day passed and another day, and then 700 units were approved in Jerusalem and then poof — that was sort of the moment,” Kerry said.