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Yesh Atid leader looked into merger with Kahlon’s Kulanu

Israel Hayom obtains internal Yesh Atid poll that sounded out members about a possible joint run with Kulanu • Israel Resilience denies partner Moshe Ya’alon “shopped around” for parties before joining Benny Gantz • Kulanu: “We are running on our own.”

Jettisoned Israeli finance minister Yair Lapid, leader of the Yesh Atid Party, speaks during a farewell party on Dec. 4 in his honor at the Ministry of Finance in Jerusalem. Lapid and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni were dismissed from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition on Dec. 2, 2017. Credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90.
Jettisoned Israeli finance minister Yair Lapid, leader of the Yesh Atid Party, speaks during a farewell party on Dec. 4 in his honor at the Ministry of Finance in Jerusalem. Lapid and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni were dismissed from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition on Dec. 2, 2017. Credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90.

Yesh Atid still reportedly wants to run on a joint ticket with Benny Gantz’s Israel Resilience Party in the April 9 Knesset election, but party leader Yair Lapid has also reportedly prepared an alternative and has looked into the possibility of a joint run with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu Party.

Israel Hayom has obtained the results of an internal Yesh Atid poll that indicate that the party is sending out feelers about merging with Kulanu. Questions on the poll asked party members how they would feel about a merger. Yesh Atid is trying to assess how feasible a joint run would be and how many seats a joint ticket would win if Lapid were No. 1 and Kahlon No. 2 on a single list.

Lapid has already announced that he will not forgo the top spot if Yesh Atid merges with any other party. Israel Hayom reported that sources close to the negotiations between Yesh Atid and Israel Resilience believe that a merger under an agreement on a rotating leadership is not a possibility.

Yesh Atid was surprised to learn that its internal poll had been leaked, and declined to comment.

“At this stage, everyone is talking to everyone else,” the party said.

Some Yesh Atid Knesset members told Israel Hayom last week that they learned about developments in their party through its news reports.

“Otherwise, we’d have no idea,” they said.

MK Meir Cohen said on Saturday that former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon had been on an “embarrassing shopping trip” through the various parties, including Yesh Atid, before deciding to joint Israel Resilience. “If he [Ya’alon] had gotten everything he wanted, he would have followed Yair Lapid anywhere,” Cohen said at a town hall event in Beersheva.

Israel Resilience said in response to the report: “It’s a shame that there are some in Yesh Atid who are under pressure and spreading lies. Ya’alon didn’t ask to join Yesh Atid. There was only talk about possible mergers between parties. Let’s hope that Meir Cohen realizes that there is no future in lies.”

Kulanu responded with a statement: “It’s another story based on nothing. It’s part of a campaign designed to attack Kulanu, which has taken every opportunity to announce it will be running alone. There is no party in Israel that represents experience, ability and proven activity like Kulanu. Alongside parties without positions and other parties that are busy starting fights and creating strife in Israeli society, only Kulanu is putting concern for people at the forefront.”

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