Hatnua party leader Tzipi Livni on Sunday reserved a slot for Russian-Israeli journalist and Arab world expert Ksenia Svetlova on her joint list with the Labor Party — now called the Zionist Camp — for the upcoming March elections.
The announcement came several hours after former Hatnua MK Elazar Stern moved to Yesh Atid, and fellow lawmaker Amram Mitzna criticized his former party chairwoman for “spurning” him.
Svetlova, an Arab affairs pundit with Channel 9 and fellow with Mitvim — the Israel Institute for Regional Foreign Policies, will likely be given a high-enough slot to see her voted into the Knesset.
As part of her merger agreement with Labor Party Chairman Isaac Herzog, Livni has seats No. 8, 16, 21, 24 and 25 for candidates of her choosing.
Svetlova’s placement on the list has not yet been announced.
She will be the eighth female candidate in the party’s top 25, and will join a growing list of former journalists making their way into politics, including Labor veterans Shelly Yachimovich and Merav Michaeli, both in the top 10 places on the Zionist Camp roster.
The inclusion of the Russian reporter on the list may aim to steal votes from Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party, which has counted Russian speakers as its strongest base, but is currently embroiled in an alleged graft scandal.
Amram Mitzna on Sunday castigated Livni for leaving the ex-Hatnua members out in the cold.
“Livni gathers stars and later spurns them,” Mitzna said, according to Israel Hayom.
“I feel like a star who was spurned,” he said, adding that the rise and fall of certain promising Knesset members is “dangerous for democracy.”
MK Amir Peretz, formally of Hatnua, who is expected to hold the eighth seat on the Zionist Camp list, defended Livni’s decision to exclude her former Hatnua members from the Zionist Camp.
“The four MKs [that Livni did not choose] were good, served the public, and did a fine parliamentary job. But we, as public officials, authorized Tzipi to make decisions and she made her decision on the matter,” he said.
Fellow Hatnua lawmaker Elazar Stern, who last month announced he was leaving Hatnua — after Livni signed a deal to run on a joint ticket with the Labor Party — formally announced his move to join Yesh Atid Sunday in a press conference.
Former Israel Defense Forces chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi rejected an offer from the Labor Party to join its ranks, Army Radio reported Sunday.
Noted economist Manuel Trajtenberg is slated to join the party, either in the 11th or 16th slot.