By Hamid Bayati

A spy who is no longer popular

January 4, 2019

TEHRAN - Tzipi Livni, chair of the Kulanu Party (right),  is not feeling well these days. She has started her carrier as spy in the Zionist regime, then entered Israel’s political system and later became foreign minister; during the Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s term, she was named as the future prime minister of Israel. Now, she has turned into a figure that can easily be pushed aside. 

These developments occur as the Zionist regime plans to hold an early election on April 9.

Leaving the left-wing party 

Since the announcement of the early election, there have been three major changes in the Israeli political arrangement. The most dramatic one happened on Tuesday, when Avraham “Avi” Gabbay, the current leader of the Israeli Labor Party and the former leader of The Zionist Union, caught Livni off guard and sacked her on live TV. 

During a televised press conference where the Israeli leaders were to react to political events, Gabby called the Kulanu leader’s loyalty questionable in the union and said he is ending his partnership with Livni. 

Zionist union in 2015 was formed by the partnership of Labor Party led by Gabbay, and Kulanu led by Livni before the 2015 spring elections. Initially, Gabbay was supposed to be the main leader of the union, because the alliance would have Livni maintain her political position. 

However, in the past four years, Livni and Gabbay were at daggers drawn for the leadership position of the alliance. 

In the run-up to the 2019 Israeli legislative election, recent polls showed that the Opposition party Zionist Union, could lose the 24 seats, crashed in the polls to only 9 to 11 seats. Last year, Gabbay resentfully accepted the political leadership of the alliance and had to draw his horns and let Livni be the leader of the parliamentary opposition. 

A few hours later, Livni in a separate press conference said she welcomes the separation as “Gabbay didn’t allow the partnership to be real.”

Meanwhile, General Benjamin “Benny” Gantz, former Chief of General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, formed a party on December 6. In response to the developments in Zionist unity and a series of other political events, Gantz said on Monday that his entry into politics has created the turbulence.

General Gantz who is a popular and public figure called his party “the backbone of Israel” and emphasized that flexibility and moderation would be the key to its plans.

According to polls, the newly established Gantz Party which has not revealed the names of members is superior to decade-old parties like the Israeli Labor Party and Meretz, and may win the election of April 9, after Likud.

The new right-wing party 

On the other hand, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who in the past two years were the two leaders of the Israeli right-wing party, in a news conference on Saturday announced that they were quitting their right-wing party to launch a new party called “New Right.”

Schulli Teacher, chairman of the Jewish House Fraction, together with Bennett and Shaked, left the party and joined the “new right”.

Nathalie Bennett, in the current cabinet of Netanyahu, was the Minister of Education and Shaked, the justice minister; they said that by forming a new party, they left themselves behind the old party's constraints and gave Israeli right-wing non-religious supporters who, through this new party, pursue their political and social demand.

Neftali Bennett and Aylat Shaked, Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud party have been accused of having formed a coalition of cabinet, have always been captured by religious parties and have “regularly ransomed to keep the coalition alive.”

Abandoned members of the House of Judaism consider the separation of their two powerful leaders “betrayal,” but they have said they are struggling to strengthen the Jewish home in new conditions.

 Gallant joins Netanyahu 

Meanwhile, the Kulanu Party, led by the finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, in a sudden move on Dec. 31, 2018, had a change of heart and a retired lieutenant-general Yoav Gallant who was housing and construction minister of this party has declared to join Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud.

Netanyahu's response to political developments

Netanyahu who went on the five-day trip to Brazil at the height of the electoral campaign in order to attend the oath of office of Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro has slammed the political developments in Tel Aviv from Rio de Janeiro.

Netanyahu said ironically that the new Bani-Gantz party is also a left party and he as the main leader of Israel’s main party, has nothing to do with what the left wing does.

Referring to the split of the Zionist Union, Netanyahu said on Tuesday that the Zionist Union including Gabbay's Labor party and  Livni's Kulanu are the left-wing parties who won’t go far in the upcoming elections.   

Netanyahu criticizes Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett’s decision to break away from the Jewish Home and form their New Right political party and said Bennett’s and Shaked's 'New Right' party is a big danger and blow to the right party, and it is not unlikely that some smaller right-wing parties will not even get a single seat, which would undermine the right wing and it is incapable of forming the next government.

Bennett and Shaked, however, rejected the allegations and said their actions will strengthen the right wing party of the country.

Prior to these developments, polls indicated Netanyahu would be Israel’s prime minister, and now he boosts his presence in power by forming the divisions.

Some experts believe that not only these developments can change last week's polls about the fate of the election in the early spring of 1998, but Netanyahu's announcement on the trip to Brazil on Monday, suspected of being prosecuted for his corruption investigation files. The Zionist regime's election scene has triumphed over the past three months, with little excitement and exuberance.

Netanyahu seems to be in a good position to deal with his corruption cases to remain in power.

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