Labor MK: Israel getting closer to apartheid every day

Labor MK: Israel getting closer to apartheid every day

Omer Barlev, a candidate for leadership of the opposition party, warns against Israel annexing parts or all of the West Bank

Jacob Magid is the settlements correspondent for The Times of Israel.

Omer Barlev (Zionist Union) is interviewed on i24News on March 12, 2017. (Screen capture/i24News)
Omer Barlev (Zionist Union) is interviewed on i24News on March 12, 2017. (Screen capture/i24News)

Labor MK Omer Barlev, who is vying for the leadership of the party, said Sunday that the situation in the West Bank is getting closer to apartheid every day.

Speaking on the Israeli English language TV channel i24, Barlev was asked to comment on an interview with a previous guest, Likud MK Miki Zohar, who advocated for his own brand of a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that involves denying voting rights to Palestinian citizens in the West Bank.

Barlev said annexing the West Bank would mean “the end of Zionism,” whose purpose, he argued, was to establish a democratic state with a clear Jewish majority.

“If Israel will annex areas in the West Bank, this will lead to apartheid,” he said.

Asked if Israel was close to that situation, Barlev, said “we are surely getting closer to it everyday.”


A former commander of the most elite IDF commando unit, Sayeret Matkal, Barlev joined a growing groups of Labor members who have announced their intentions to vie for party leadership in primaries scheduled for July 3.

Barlev, 63, announced his candidacy with a Facebook post.

“The State of Israel, as well as the Labor Party, deserves honest, brave, dedicated, pugnacious and a united leadership. The time has come to fight again for our place leading the country,” he wrote.

“The State of Israel needs to change direction. The State of Israel needs courageous leadership,” he added.

Others who have indicated they will run against current party chair Isaac Herzog are former high-tech entrepreneur MK Erel Margalit, former party leader MK Amir Peretz, former environmental protection minister Avi Gabbay, MK Eitan Cabel and activist-journalist Eldad Yaniv.

During the interview, Barlev cited his security chops as well as his knowledge of “international relationships” as primary assets that differentiate him from others running.

When reminded about his perceived lack of charisma — a quality that was believed to have undermined Herzog when he led the party in the 2015 elections — Barlev referred to his leadership experience in the military, in high-tech and as chairman of the Aharai pre-army training program.

“I’m bringing a ‘what you see is what you get mentality,” Barlev said, going on to criticize Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for “saying great words and doing nothing” and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid for “saying nothing.”

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