Yisrael Beytenu rebel announces formation of new party

With talk of elections in the air, Orly Levy-Abekasis says politicians should fear her new political faction

MK Orly Levy-Abekasis attends a Knesset committee meeting on March 15, 2017.(Miriam Alster/Flash90)
MK Orly Levy-Abekasis attends a Knesset committee meeting on March 15, 2017.(Miriam Alster/Flash90)

An independent lawmaker who broke with the Yisrael Beytenu party in 2016 over its joining the governing coalition announced Tuesday she would form a new party.

“My assistants will leave the office tomorrow and go to submit the binder of the [party’s] founders to the population registry,” MK Orly Levy-Abekasis told a conference in Sderot.

With talk of elections in the air as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is beset by legal woes and the coalition wrangles over legislation exempting ultra-Orthodox students from military service, Levy-Abekasis warned political leaders that her party would pose a threat.

“I recommend to the party leaders not to fear elections but to fear the new party that was founded,” she said.

Knesset protocol says that leaving a party prohibits an incumbent MK from running on any already existing slate in the next election, meaning if Levy-Abekasis wanted another term in office she needed to form a new party.

Elections are currently scheduled for November 2019, but talk of a much-earlier vote has run rampant in recent days amid a simmering coalition crisis over ultra-Orthodox military conscription.

Levy-Abekasis announced in May 2016 that she would leave Yisrael Beytenu over its agreement to enter into the Likud-led government, saying that the party had abandoned its social platform during negotiations to enter the coalition.

She first said last year she was considering forming a party for the next elections.

The daughter of former foreign minister David Levy, Levy-Abekasis was a model and television presenter prior to entering the Knesset in 2009.

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