Gesher (2019 political party)

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LeaderOrly Levy
Founded25 December 2018
Split fromYisrael Beitenu
Preceded byGesher National Social Movement
Merged intoLikud
Political positionCentre[4]
National affiliationLikud (2021)
Colours  Dark Blue
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Election symbol

Gesher (Hebrew: גשר, lit. Bridge) was a liberal and centrist[5] political party in Israel, established in December 2018 by former Yisrael Beitenu MK Orly Levy. The party focuses primarily on economic and cost-of-living issues.[6] The name of the party is a reference to the party founded by Orly's father, David Levy.


Levy served on behalf of the Yisrael Beiteinu party during the 20th Knesset, but withdrew from the party after it joined the 34th government, due to the fact that she did not receive a ministerial position despite her high ranking on Yisrael Beitenu's list.[citation needed] At first, she remained officially a part of the party, but later was removed from the party and remained a member of the Knesset. Levy was recognized as an independent member of the Knesset, not a member of the coalition, but in the opposition.[7] In March 2017 Levy announced her intention to establish a new party for the elections.[8]

Gesher was founded in December 2018, a few days after the April 2019 election was called. The party attempted to run on a joint list with Benny Gantz's Israel Resilience Party but after negotiations failed, the party declared it would run alone.[9]

On 18 July 2019, ahead of the September 2019 election, the party agreed to form an electoral alliance with the Labor party.[10][11]

For the 2020 March elections, Gesher-Labor unified with Meretz in light of worries that neither party would pass the 3.25% threshold needed to enter the Knesset. Many Gesher voters were surprised at this merger, because when it comes to the politics of the Arab–Israeli conflict, Gesher was seen as more of a centre-right party, while Meretz is a left wing party.[citation needed] On 17 March 2020, Levy requested that she be allowed to withdraw her party from its alliance with Labor and Meretz.[12] The Arrangements Committee approved the split on 23 March.[13] In the following election in 2021, Orly Levy ran as part of the Likud list after the party gave her the 26th spot[14] and went on to retain a seat in the Knesset.[15]


Leader Took office Left office
OLevyAS5V7987.JPG Orly Levy 2018 Incumbent

Election results[edit]

Election year Party leader # of overall votes % of overall vote # of seats won +/- Government
April 2019 Orly Levy 74,701 1.73 (#14)
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New party Extraparliamentary
September 2019 Orly Levy Part of Labor-Gesher
1 / 120
Increase 1 Snap election
2020 Orly Levy Part of Labor-Gesher-Meretz
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Steady 0 In coalition


  1. ^ "כלכלי-חברתי". (in Hebrew).
  2. ^ "מגזרים ואוכלוסיות מוחלשות". (in Hebrew).
  3. ^ "שוויון מגדרי". (in Hebrew).
  4. ^ Avishai, Bernard (8 February 2019). "Benjamin Netanyahu Finally Faces a Real Challenger in Benny Gantz—If the Opposition Can Unite Behind Him". The New Yorker. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  5. ^ Staff Writer (14 March 2018). "Orly Levy-Abekasis is Israel's newest political wildcard". Times of Israel. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  6. ^ Baruch, Hezki (26 December 2018). "Levy-Abekasis' party to be named Gesher". Israel National News. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  7. ^ Baruch, Hezki (15 March 2017). "Yisrael Beytenu MK dismissed". Israel National News. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  8. ^ "אורלי לוי-אבקסיס: "אקים מפלגה חדשה"". mako (in Hebrew). 18 March 2017.
  9. ^ "Levy-Abekasis: No merger with Gantz after his 'weird, hallucinatory' behavior". The Times of Israel. 20 February 2019. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  10. ^ "All the Candidates Running in Israel's September Do-over Election". Haaretz. 2 August 2019. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  11. ^ Hoffman, Gil; Sharon, Jeremy; Beeri, Tamar (18 July 2019). "Labor nabs Orly Levy-Abekasis, Left joint list called off". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  12. ^ Magid, Jacob (17 March 2020). "Renegade MK files breakaway request from Labor-Meretz after U-turn on Joint List". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  13. ^ "You can go your own way: Arrangements Committee approves MK's request to part from Labor-Meretz". The Times of Israel. 23 March 2020. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  14. ^ Wootliff, Raoul (4 February 2021). "Netanyahu recruits first-ever Muslim to Likud list, also adds firebrand novelist". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  15. ^ Raoul Wootliff; Jacob Magid (26 March 2021). "Reform rabbi, Kahanist agitator, firebrand writer: The new Knesset's 16 rookies". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 26 March 2021.

External links[edit]