Two days before the final deadline and as its negotiations on possible mergers with other parties continued, Israel Resilience released its official slate for the Knesset on Tuesday, revealing the names of the top 30 candidates it hopes will lead the party to victory in April’s elections.
Topping the list behind party chairman Benny Gantz and Telem leader Moshe Ya’alon is Histadrut labor federation leader Avi Nissenkorn, who announced he would be joining the party earlier this week.
Behind Nissenkorn comes former news anchor and environmental activist Miki Haimovich in the fourth slot, followed by Yoaz Hendel, a newspaper columnist and head of the Institute for Zionist Strategies think tank who previously served as a senior aide to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Closing the top 10 are former Yeruham mayor Michael Biton; Hili Tropper, a high-school principal and former adviser to the education minister; Netanyahu’s former cabinet secretary Zvi Hauser; Orit Farkash-Hacohen, a former chair of the Israel Electric Corporation and a prominent business attorney; and Meirav Cohen, a well-known elderly-rights activist and former Jerusalem city council member.
The list also includes Asaf Zamir (11), a former deputy mayor of Tel Aviv who challenged but failed to unseat incumbent Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai in municipal elections last November; Eitan Ginzburg (19), the former mayor of Ra’anana, who was the first openly gay mayor in Israel; former director-general of the Culture and Sports Ministry Orly Fruman (13); former head of the Be’eri military academy Gadi Yevarkan (18); former head of Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council Alon Shuster (16); female ultra-Orthodox social activist Omer Yankovich (14); and former head of the IDF Disabled Veterans Organization Moshe Matalon (23), who was previously an MK for the Yisrael Beytenu party.
Six of the first 23 candidates are from Ya’alon’s Telem party, which agreed on a joint Knesset run with Israel Resilience last month. Only five of the top 20 are women.
A late addition to the list at number 15 is Gadeer Mreeh, a well-known Druze television anchor.
In his first public political pronouncement after entering politics, Gantz said he would “fix” the so-called Jewish nation-state law, which many Druze have criticized as discriminatory.
Gantz later said in his only interview since entering the political fray that he would not seek to change the legislation but work to “fix” strained ties with the Druze community.
The candidates were set to join Gantz at an event later Tuesday evening where he was to give a speech and present the full slate to the public.
In his speech, Gantz will say that, “These elections are about putting Netanyahu before everything else, or putting Israel before everything else,” a party source told The Times of Israel.
Revealing the list before the event suggests that negotiations over a merger with Orly Levy-Abekasis’s Gesher party may not be completed before Thursday’s deadline for parties to submit their list of candidates.
Gantz has also been holding talks with Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid on a joint electoral run.
Referring to the possibility of a merger deal with Israel Resilience, the only possible move that polls suggest could make Yesh Atid into a real contender, Lapid said Monday that a deal is still possible, but looks unlikely.
“The option is on the table. I won’t take it off the table until the last moment. We will leave no stone unturned,” he said, with just three days remaining until a merger must be finalized.
But Lapid said the two parties had not yet come to an agreement on key policy issues.
“At this stage, and there isn’t much time left, I haven’t been given the answers,” Lapid said. “I can’t believe I even have to explain this – there is no such thing as a party without a clear agenda. You can’t go to elections if people don’t know what you stand for. ”
Lapid is said to have offered Gantz a political merger that would see the two leaders alternating as chair of their alliance, Channel 12 reported on Saturday.
Israel Resiliance’s list of its top 30 candidates for Knesset elections on April 9, 2019:
1. Benny Gantz
2. Moshe Ya’alon
3. Avi Nissenkorn
4. Miki Haimovich
5. Yoaz Hendel
6. Michael Biton
7. Hili Trooper
8. Zvi Hauser
9. Orit Farkash-Hacohen
10. Meirav Cohen
11. Asaf Zamir
12. Izhar Shay
13. Orly Fruman
14. Omer Yankelevich
15. Gadeer Mreeh
16. Alon Shuster
17. Ram Shefa
18. Gadi Yevarkan
19. Eitan Ginzburg
20. Einav Kabla
21. Itzhak Ilan
22. Hila Shay Vazan
23. Moshe (Mutz) Matalon
24. Ruth Wasserman Lande
25. Alon Tal
26. Yair Farjun
27. Omer Shlayer
28. Michal Cotler Wunsh
29. Idit Wexler
30. Keren Gonen