Levy-Abekasis recorded chiding Gantz’s party, appearing to rule out merger
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Levy-Abekasis recorded chiding Gantz’s party, appearing to rule out merger

In closed conference, Gesher party leader says her 12-year-son could write a better party platform than Israel Resilience’s; also says she is being wooed by several parties

MK Orly Levy-Abekasis at a Knesset House Committee meeting, March 15, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
MK Orly Levy-Abekasis at a Knesset House Committee meeting, March 15, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

MK Orly Levy-Abekasis has been recorded blasting Benny Gantz’s Israel Resilience party and appearing to rule out the long-rumored option of joining forces with Gantz ahead of the April 9 elections.

Levy-Abekasis, who in 2016 quit Avigdor Liberman’s Israel Beytenu party but remained in the parliament as an independent, has now formed the Gesher party.

Once considered a possible rising star in the upcoming Knesset vote, she has slumped in recent polls and, in some, fallen under the election threshold which stands at 3.25 percent of the votes.

Gantz and Levy have been reported to be interested in merging their parties, but in a recording from a closed conference broadcast Thursday by Channel 12, she said Gantz’s party platform was so badly written that her son could have done better when he was 12.

“I went to the party’s platform, it was one-and-a-half lines. My child could express himself better when he was in sixth-grade,” she said. “You aren’t respecting the public when that’s what you write in the platform.”

Former Israeli chief of staff Benny Gantz attends an electoral rally in the coastal city of Tel Aviv on January 29, 2019. (Jack Guez/AFP)

Levy-Abekasis cadded that she has received offers from various political parties, from the Labor on the left to Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked’s New Right, and even from Yisrael Beytenu, the party she quit.

“I don’t want to be part of this hypocrisy,” she told the participants. She accused other parties of only caring about security and about who will be defense minister, neglecting social issues.

“I am asked why I don’t join forces — this is the reason. I want these subjects to be the central focus of my party, not an agenda on the margins of another bigger party,” she said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on March 13, 2016. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool)

Levy-Abekasis also attacked Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon — who is similarly in trouble in polls — for delaying, rather than nixing, the hike in electricity and dairy price until after the elections.

She reserved criticism for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well, saying that he “cannot continue” leading the country due to the corruption cases against him.

“I’m not willing to have us become his experimental playground,” she said.

Levy-Abekasis entered the Knesset nine years ago as a member of hawkish former defense minister Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu. But in May 2016, she left the party after it joined the ruling coalition, saying that it had abandoned its social platform. She has since been serving as an independent MK in the opposition.

She made her name with activism on behalf of children, the elderly, and the poor. She has not yet specified who else would represent her party.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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