Movement for Change: The Herzog-Livni Merger

It’s been rumoured since last week but last night we heard about the deal in which Hatnua and Labor will run in a joint list in the upcoming elections in March 2015. Right-wing politicians like Danny Danon and Ze’ev Elkin tried to have a dig at Livni and Herzog. Ha’aretz journalist Anshel Pfeffer called the deal ‘hopeless‘.

I think that quite on the contrary , this deal brings a lot of hope to Israel, because Herzog who could have won the election on his own, decided to put his ego aside and form a joint list with Livni, which will give them together more votes than if they ran in separate lists. Say whatever you want about Herzog, but this is a bold move as it will put together the stateswoman qualities of Livni with the socio-economic change that Herzog wants to drive.

Many Israelis realise that Netanyahu been 3 times the PM and under his premiership they became worse off, as the cost of living soared to new heights and the country’s assets been divided between few tycoons that control the market. The slogan ‘just not Bibi’ became popular, but Herzog and Livni should and offer hope and change and they can offer plenty.

The change starts with action and not hollow facebook statuses. Action means changing the priorities of the country. More money to education, to health and welfare, cutting budgets to the military and reinforcing the foreign affairs ministry. Introducing public housing and defreezing lands for new property constructions. Investing in roads and transportation, investing in deprived communities, and closing the gap between Israelis and Arab-Israelis.

Labor leader Isaac Herzog and Hatnua leader Tzipi Livni announce the merger of their parties at a press conference in Tel Aviv on December 10, 2014. They said they would rotate the prime ministership if they win elections next March. (Photo credit: FLASH90)

(Photo credit: FLASH90)

And of course, since majority of Israelis support the two-state solution according to all polls, Livni & Herzog will need to campaign as well on hope for a just peace with two states for the people of Israel and Palestine. Getting back to the negotiating table with Abbas is a must for the new government and should be done without delay.

It was the 1992 Rabin government which was the last government that brought hope, equality and prosperity to Israelis. It is the time for a change of leadership for the country and a government that will put the interests of the many before those of the few.

The choice couldn’t be clearer, more of the same from Netanyahu who will continue to concentrate on clinging on to his seat and scaring the public of the security threats (the very same threats that he promised to eliminate) or the movement for change led by Herzog and Livni. I know what I would have chosen.

About the Author
Tal Ofer is a former parliamentary researcher and now Deputy at the Board of Deputies of British Jews. He actively fights antisemitism and delegitimisation of Israel. In Summer 2014 he masterminded a campaign to target Tricycle Theater donors, which led to reverse of boycott of UK Jewish Film Festival.
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