Blue and White (political alliance)

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Blue and White

כחול לבן
LeaderBenny Gantz
Founded21 February 2019
HeadquartersTel Aviv
IdeologyLiberalism[1]
Zionism[1]
Secularism
Factions:
Social liberalism[2]
Economic liberalism[3]
National liberalism
Political positionCentre[4]
Big tent[5]
Member partiesIsrael Resilience
Yesh Atid
Telem
Colours     Blue
     Dark Blue
     White
Knesset
33 / 120
Most MKs35 (April 2019)
Election symbol
פה
Website
kachollavan.org.il

Blue and White (Hebrew: כַּחוֹל לָבָן Kaḥol Lavan) is a centrist[6] and liberal[7] political alliance in Israel.

The party was established to run in the April 2019 Knesset elections by the Israel Resilience Party, Yesh Atid and Telem,[8] in hopes of defeating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Blue and White defines itself as a pluralistic party representing all citizens on the political and religious spectrums.[9] The phrase "blue and white" refers to the colors of the Israeli flag, and is colloquially used to describe something as being typically Israeli.[10]

The central tenets of the Blue and White party platform include: introducing prime ministerial term limits, barring indicted politicians from serving in the Knesset, amending the Nation-State Law to include Israeli minorities, investing in early education, expanding health care, and re-entering negotiations with the Palestinian Authority for a peace agreement.[11]

History[edit]

On 21 February 2019, the last day for submitting election lists for the Knesset, Yesh Atid and Israel Resilience announced that they would form an alliance for the upcoming elections. Gabi Ashkenazi, also a former chief of staff, would join the list in the fourth spot.[12]

Blue and White won 35 seats in the April 2019 Israeli legislative election, the same as Likud, and conceded defeat.[13] Benjamin Netanyahu's party was tasked by President Reuven Rivlin with forming a governing coalition,[14] but failed. This triggered the September 2019 Israeli legislative election.[15]

Composition[edit]

Blue and White consists of three political parties (and an independent) which hold a combined 32 seats in the Knesset.

Name Ideology Position Leader Current MKs
Israel Resilience Social liberalism Centre[16] Benny Gantz
14 / 120
Yesh Atid Liberalism Centre[17] Yair Lapid
14 / 120
Telem National liberalism Centre-right[18] Moshe Ya'alon
4 / 120
Independents Gabi Ashkenazi
1 / 120

Israel Resilience Party[edit]

On 16 February 2015, Benny Gantz completed his term as Chief of Staff and began a three-year legal moratorium in which he could not run for the Knesset. This ended on 2 July 2018.[19] Subsequently, in September 2018, it was reported that Gantz planned to enter politics.[20] On 26 December 2018, the 20th Knesset voted to dissolve itself and hold early elections. A day later, on 27 December, after 109 people signed a list of founders, the party was officially registered with the name Hosen L'Yisrael.[21]

Telem[edit]

In May 2016, "amidst wide-spread speculation that he would be fired by Netanyahu", Moshe Ya'alon resigned from his defense minister post. On 12 March 2017, Ya'alon officially relinquished his membership of Likud, announcing that he would form a new party to challenge Netanyahu in the next election.[22] Ya'alon registered Telem on 2 January 2019.[23] Telem announced an alliance with Israel Resilience on 29 January 2019.[24]

Yesh Atid[edit]

Yesh Atid was founded by Yair Lapid in 2012, running on a platform of representing the centre of Israeli society.[25] In 2013, it placed second in the general election, winning 19 seats.[26] It then entered into a coalition led by Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud. In the lead-up to the 2015 election, Lapid's campaign continued to emphasize economic issues, while heavily criticizing Netanyahu and his Likud party.[27][28] Receiving 11 seats, they placed fourth and sat in the opposition.[29]

Party platform and positions[edit]

On 25 February 2019, Lapid stated that the party wishes to amend the Nation-State Bill, intending to add a civil equality article.[30] Blue and White's party platform was released on 6 March 2019. The document reveals positions on a number of policy areas, key among them a commitment to engage with peace-minded Arab neighbors and a willingness to enter into negotiations with the Palestinians, albeit without land concessions.[11]

Policies included limiting the prime minister to eight years or three terms and preventing anyone convicted of a serious crime from being a public official.[31] The party stated that they would return money previously taken by political parties in behind-the-scene deals and using it to reduce the cost of health care, education, and living.[32] A diplomatic initiative for peace with the Palestinians was put forward.[33] The party also supported the right of citizens to marry, divorce, parent, and be buried according to their specific beliefs, and the responsibility of all citizens to serve in the army, regardless of their religious levels.[34]

During its 2019 campaign, the party's platform included the following pledges:

  • Governmental corruption: Impose term limits on the prime minister to a maximum of three terms or eight years.[31] Indicted or convicted politicians would be barred from running for public office.[31]
  • Religion and state: The protection of the Jewish identity of the state, as well as the identities of all of its citizens.[34] Civil marriage would be made permissible in some form,[35][36] allowing people to marry according to their own beliefs.[34] Enforce the 2016 agreement to create an expanded place for egalitarian prayers at the Western Wall, which had been suspended by the Netanyahu government.[36]
  • Education: Investing in early education and kindergartens and subsidising daycare for young children.[37] English and mathematics would be highly prioritized in elementary, middle, and high school.[33]
  • Health: Approximately 12.5 billion NIS (US$3.4 billion) would be invested in health care for all Israeli citizens.[38] The party has pledged to fight against hospital closures, and to increase access to medicine throughout the country, including the periphery.[38]
  • Economy: Shift to a focus on macroeconomics,[39] seek to encourage innovation in STEM fields, and encourage more women and Hasidic Jews to enter the workforce.[33]
  • Israel-Palestinian conflict: On 7 March, in a speech to an English-speaking audience, Lapid laid out four conditions for a peace deal with the Palestinians:

Leaders[edit]

The alliance is led by Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid. Should it become the lead faction in forming a government, the two have agreed to a rotation which would have Gantz serving for the first two years as prime minister, with Lapid as foreign minister and Telem leader Moshe Ya'alon (in the third slot on the list) as defense minister. For the next two years, Lapid would serve as prime minister, with Gantz as defense minister.[41] Following them on the party list are Blue and White spokesman Gabi Ashkenazi, Histadrut Chairman Avi Nissenkorn, Meir Cohen, Miki Haimovich, Ofer Shelah, Yoaz Hendel, and Orna Barbivai.[42] Hili Tropper, number 12 on the party list, is Gantz's speechwriter and closest aide.[43]

Leader Took office Left office
Benny Gantz 2019 (cropped).jpg Benny Gantz 2019 Incumbent

Election results[edit]

Election Leader Votes % Seats +/– Status
April 2019 Benny Gantz
Yair Lapid
1,125,881 26.13 (#2)
35 / 120
New party Snap election
September 2019 Benny Gantz
Yair Lapid
1,151,214 25.95 (#1)
33 / 120
Decrease2 Snap election
2020 Benny Gantz TBD TBD
0 / 120
TBD TBD

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Blue and White". The Israel Democracy Institute. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  2. ^ Lahav Harkov (16 February 2019). "Histadrut chief Avi Nissenkorn joins Gantzs Israel Resilience Party". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  3. ^ JPost Editorial (17 March 2013). "A Capitalist Government". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  4. ^ Alon Yakter; Mark; Oriel Amram Tessler (26 February 2018). "Netanyahu's new rival is surging in Israel's polls". Washington Post. Gantz's centrist political party, Blue and White...
  5. ^ "After Replacing Netanyahu, Gantz's Party Will Self-destruct. And That's OK". Haaretz. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  6. ^ Halbfinger, David M. (21 February 2019). "2 Israel Centrists, Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid, Join Forces Against Netanyahu". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  7. ^ Eric R. Mandel. "Spotlight on Moshe 'Bogie' Ya'alon". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  8. ^ Staff writer. "United Gantz-Lapid party to be called 'Blue and White'; no women in top 6". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  9. ^ מצע כחול לבן. כחול לבן (in Hebrew). Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  10. ^ מילוג המילון העברי החופשי – כחול לבן פירושים (in Hebrew). Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  11. ^ a b Raoul Wootliff (6 March 2019). "Blue and White releases its political platform: 'No second disengagement'". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  12. ^ Staff writer. "After marathon talks Gantz, Lapid agree party merger in challenge to Netanyahu". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  13. ^ Oren Liebermann; Andrew Carey. "Netanyahu set for fifth term as Israel's leader as rival concedes defeat". CNN. Retrieved 22 September 2019.
  14. ^ Staff writer. "With plea for healing, president officially taps Netanyahu to form new coalition". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 22 September 2019.
  15. ^ "After Netanyahu Fails to Form Government, Israel to Hold New Election". Haaretz. 30 May 2019. Retrieved 22 September 2019.
  16. ^ "Ex-Israeli Army Chief Benny Gantz, Considered Top Netanyahu Challenger, Launches Political Party". Haaretz. 27 December 2018.
  17. ^ Evans, Judith (23 January 2013). "Israeli election: Live Report". Yahoo! News Singapore. AFP. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  18. ^ Winer, Stuart. "Peace activist protests Knesset bid by scholar who slapped him". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  19. ^ אנונימית (2 July 2018). "רוץ בני, רוץ: תקופת הצינון של הרמטכ"ל לשעבר תמה". רדיו קול חי.
  20. ^ "החדשות – "בני גנץ החליט להצטרף לפוליטיקה"". mako. 6 September 2018.
  21. ^ List of founders Archived 27 December 2018 at the Wayback Machine The Registrar of Political Parties website (in Hebrew)
  22. ^ Magid, Jacob (12 March 2017). "Former defense minister Ya'alon officially quits Likud". The Times of Israel.
  23. ^ Raoul Wootliff (2 January 2019). "Former defense chief Ya'alon launches new political party, Telem". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  24. ^ Staff (30 January 2019). "Launching bid to replace Netanyahu, Gantz vows to unify Israel, end incitement". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  25. ^ Elise Garofalo (21 January 2013). "Israeli Election Primer – What You Should Know". Newshour. PBS. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  26. ^ Kershner, Isabel (23 January 2013). "Charismatic Leader Helps Israel Turn Toward the Center". The New York Times. pp. A10. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
  27. ^ Ido Ben Porat (9 February 2015). "Yesh Atid MK: We'll Prefer Herzog Over Netanyahu". Israel National News. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  28. ^ Jodi Rudoren (28 March 2015). "Israeli Center-Left Leader Seeks Path Forward". The New York Times. p. A8. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  29. ^ "ועדת הבחירות המרכזית לכנסת ה-20 | תוצאות ארציות". web.archive.org. 18 March 2015. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  30. ^ Lahav Harkov (25 February 2019). "What are Blue and White's plans for the Nation-State Law?". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  31. ^ a b c "מצע כחול לבן המלא פורסם: "לא תהיה התנתקות שנייה"". m.ynet.co.il. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  32. ^ ברטוב, אביעד (19 March 2019). בני גנץ בראיון מיוחד לדוריה למפל בחדשות הערב בכאן 11: "סיפור הצוללות עצוב ומטריד מבחינה שלטונית". Israel News (in Hebrew). Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  33. ^ a b c "מצע כחול לבן 2019" (PDF).
  34. ^ a b c "בחירות 2019: מצע מפלגת כחול לבן בתחום הדת והמדינה". על משמר הכנסת. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  35. ^ Everything You Need to Know About Benny Gantz, the General Vying to Take Down Netanyahu, Haaretz (7 April 2019).
  36. ^ a b Judy Maltz, Gantz's Party Promises non-Orthodox Recognition at Western Wall, Civil Marriages, Haartez (12 March 2019).
  37. ^ "הגיל הרך | כחול-לבן". Yesh Atid (in Hebrew). Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  38. ^ a b זרחיה, צבי (4 March 2019). "מצע "כחול לבן": תוספת של 12.5 מיליארד שקלים למערכת הבריאות על פני 5 שנים". כלכליסט – www.calcalist.co.il. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  39. ^ "כלכלה, חברה ויוקר המחיה | כחול-לבן". Yesh Atid (in Hebrew). Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  40. ^ Jessen, Sophia (7 March 2019). "Yair Lapid Outlines Four Demands for Peace With Palestinians". Haaretz.
  41. ^ Gil Hoffman. "Gantz and Lapid's 'Blue and White' reveals list, only 2 women in top 10". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  42. ^ Staff writer. "New Israeli centrist alliance, to be called 'Blue and White,' aims to topple Netanyahu". World Israel News. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  43. ^ Hofstein, Avner. "Political life isn't easy for Gantz, and that's a good thing, says closest aide". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 13 March 2019.