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Discussions between Israel Resilience, Yesh Atid hit snag

Histadrut labor federation chairman Avi Nissankoren joins Israel Resilience Party list • In an apparent effort to save face should talks on merger fail, Yesh Atid says “clarifications” are needed from Israel Resilience on party’s policies on core issues.

Israeli Yesh Atid Party leader Yair Lapid speaks in Netanya, March 19, 2017. Photo by Flash90.
Israeli Yesh Atid Party leader Yair Lapid speaks in Netanya, March 19, 2017. Photo by Flash90.

With just days to decide on a possible merger with a rival party, the Israel Resilience Party led by former Israel Defense Forces’ Chief of Staff Benny Gantz is now entering one of its most challenging weeks of the election campaign.

Israel Resilience and the Telem Party, which recently joined forces, will present their list of 40 to 45 candidates for Knesset at a conference at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds on Tuesday.

In addition to Gantz and Telem Party leader Moshe Ya’alon, the party has thus far announced 15 of its candidates, among them media figure Miki Haimovich; former advisers to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Yoaz Hendel and Zvi Hauser; social activist Meirav Cohen; and educator and Gantz confidante Hilli Tropper.

On Saturday, Israel Resilience announced that Histadrut labor federation chairman Avi Nissankoren had also joined the party ranks.

Nissankoren is expected to be placed in the top five of the list. The assessment among Israel Resilience members is that by joining the party, the labor chief will help resolve issues the newly formed party is contending with on the organizational side.

While Yesh Atid is looking to join forces with Israel Resilience, it hopes to do so with its party leader Yair Lapid at the head of the joint list. While such a merger could still be formed by Thursday, the deadline for submitting party lists, Yesh Atid officials have signaled that the chances of the parties joining forces are slim.

Over the weekend, Yesh Atid began to try to spin the situation to make it appear as if, should the efforts toward a merger fail, it would due to its having refused Israel Resilience’s offer. Yesh Atid members who took part in various town hall meetings om Saturday all said the party was in direct talks for a merger with Israel Resilience, but that they still needed clarifications regarding Gantz’s policies on “core issues.”

Lapid will present the party’s Knesset list, which he selected, on Monday night. He will also take the opportunity to comment on the merger with Gantz.

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