The Zionist Camp, the name by which the joint Labor-Hatnua list for the Knesset is known, fired back at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday night, after he declared he will not form a government that includes leftist parties.
In a statement, the Zionist Camp said that Netanyahu’s remarks prove that voting for him means voting for the extreme right, and pointed out candidates that it views as extremists, namely MK Orit Struk of Jewish Home and activist Baruch Marzel of Otzma Yehudit, who is on the fourth spot in Eli Yishai's Yachad-Ha'am Itanu list.
“Hats off to Bibi who, for the first time since being elected as Prime Minister, spoke his truth,” the statement said.
“The translation for Netanyahu’s words is clear: You chose Bibi – you received Struk. You chose Likud – you got Baruch Marzel. Netanyahu's words finally clarify that these elections are between the extreme right and the Zionist camp.”
“We will ensure that Bibi, Struk and Marzel will cooperate closely from the benches of the Opposition,” concluded the statement.
Earlier Sunday, Netanyahu posted on Facebook that he will not form a coalition with the leftist parties and would stick with the Likud’s natural partner, the Jewish Home.
“I have made clear that I will not form a government with the left-wing parties. There is a huge ideological void between the Likud and Buji, Tzipi and the Labor party’s list of anti-Zionist members,” he said.
“I’ve also announced that the Jewish Home is our natural partner and will be a part of the government I will head, a strong and broad Likud government.”
“But,” Netanyahu continued, “if the Likud will not be big enough – there is no certainty that the formation of the government will be assigned to me. If the Likud will not be big enough, a leftist government may be established. The choice this time is a big Likud or a left-wing government.”
The comments came hours after Hatnua chairwoman Tzipi Livni, who is number two on the Zionist Camp list, dismissed the possibility of a unity government with Likud and Netanyahu.
"I will not be a partner in Netanyahu's government. I will not join a path that is not our path," she said in a radio interview.
"I will not be a partner to a path that is our path, and I am not a partner to Netanyahu's path, or the path shared by Netanyahu, [Jewish Home Chairman Naftali] Bennett and [Yisrael Beytenu Chairman Avigdor] Liberman," she added.
Meanwhile, the Labor-Hatnua list got a boost from Yesh Atid on Sunday, when MK Shai Piron indicated that his party would prefer that Yitzhak Herzog head the next government over Netanyahu.
“We are now at the end of three terms of Binyamin Netanyahu as prime minister, I think it’s time to test a new way and a new leadership in Israel,” he told Galey Yisrael radio.
Asked by the interviewer how Yesh Atid would act if given a choice between Netanyahu and Herzog, and whether it would prefer Herzog, Piron replied, "If that is the choice, that is what we will do.”
"I repeat, we do not reject anyone, on the one hand, but on the other hand, we believe that it is time to replace Netanyahu," he added.