Labor Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich's announcement on Thursday that she would not serve in a government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent the Left into a frenzy. The three main leftist parties, who up until now have fiercely attacked each other, suddenly broke out into a frenzied tango, and the results are still unclear. A union between the leftist parties after the elections to prevent Netanyahu from forming a coalition is one thing, but a group hug during the campaign could prove fatal for one or more of them.
Talk of a union between these parties might even help Netanyahu. He can now go back to his initial campaign slogan, coined right after the merger of Likud and Yisrael Beytenu: A strong Right against all that's Left. This line of campaigning was abandoned last month in favor of the unnecessary skirmishes with Habayit Hayehudi head Naftali Bennett, Shas and the rest of the world.
Two main considerations were the basis for Likud's and Yisrael Beytenu's decision to unite their candidate lists in these elections: consolidation ahead of a potential union of the Left, and President Shimon Peres' excessive involvement in politics.
We have heard talk of a unified Left here for a long time. Almost everyone who sought to topple Netanyahu expected this union, just as they had hoped former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert would return to the political arena. However, the due date for submission of candidate lists came and went, and with it the speculation ended and the Left remained divided. Olmert stayed home.
Here and there, some on the Left mentioned Peres' name as a possibility. Who would be more suitable to concoct remedies for the country than this head of state, whose past political involvement they hope to revive? Hatnuah Chairwoman Tzipi Livni urged Peres to resign from his current position and stand at the head of the Left.
This is the same Livni who admitted that she met with Peres recently and shared with him her desire to unite the Left and topple Netanyahu. Yachimovich also met with Peres a few days ago; amazingly, even Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid met with Peres.
Likud's age-old assumption that Peres will do anything he can to prevent the formation of a Likud-led government is only strengthening. After crowning Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas a partner for peace and trying to shift the policy agenda of the outgoing government as it tries to win re-election, Peres continues with his attempts to stir, mix and mingle. The president, by the way, denies all of this.