Zionist Union in pre-poll tatters

Israel’s centre-left opposition dramatically split yesterday ahead of an April 9 election, with leader Avi Gabbay announcing he would no longer partner with veteran politician Tzipi Livni as she sat stone-faced next to him.

The announcement means the end of their Zionist Union ­alliance, which finished second at the last general election in 2015 but has since tumbled far in the opinion polls.

The Zionist Union included Mr Gabbay’s Labour party and Ms Livni’s Hatnuah. It won 24 out of 120 seats in 2015, behind Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud, which won 30.

Since Mr Gabbay took over as head of Labour in 2017, his partnership with Ms Livni had been uneasy and it was unclear if the alliance would continue for the election. He inherited the partnership from the previous ­Labour leader, Isaac Herzog.

“I still believe in partnership, in connections, in uniting a large camp committed to change, but successful connections necessitate friendship, upholding agreements and commitment to a course,” Mr Gabbay told a meeting of Zionist Union MPs.

“That didn’t happen in this partnership.”

Ms Livni approached the ­podium immediately afterwards and said tersely she would take time to reflect on Mr Gabbay’s announcement before responding. At a later press conference, she admitted Mr Gabbay’s announcement had taken her by surprise, rejected insinuations she lacked loyalty and said the split was ultimately for the best.

Read the article in The Australian.