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Blue and White (political alliance)

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

Blue and White

כחול לבן
LeaderBenny Gantz
Yair Lapid
Moshe Ya'alon
SpokespersonGabi Ashkenazi
Founded21 February 2019
HeadquartersTel Aviv
IdeologyBig tent[1]
Liberalism[2]
Zionism[2]
Secularism
Factions:
Social liberalism[3]
Economic liberalism[4]
National liberalism
Political positionCentre[5]
Member partiesIsrael Resilience Party
Yesh Atid
Telem
Colours     blue
     White
Knesset
35 / 120
Election symbol
פה
Website
bg19.co.il

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 the current PM 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]

Contents

HistoryEdit

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]

CompositionEdit

Blue and White consists of three political parties, who hold a combined 35 seats in the Knesset.

Name Ideology Position Leader Current MKs
Israel Resilience Party Social liberalism Centre[13] Benny Gantz
14 / 120
Yesh Atid Liberalism Centre[14] Yair Lapid
15 / 120
Telem National liberalism Centre-right[15] Moshe Ya'alon
5 / 120
Independents Gabi Ashkenazi
1 / 120

Israel Resilience PartyEdit

On 16 February 2015, 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.[16] Subsequently, in September 2018, it was reported that Gantz planned to enter politics.[17] 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.[18]

TelemEdit

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.[19] Ya'alon registered Telem on 2 January 2019.[20] Telem announced an alliance with Israel Resilience on 29 January 2019.[21]

Yesh AtidEdit

Yesh Atid was founded by Yair Lapid in 2012, running on a platform of representing the centre of Israeli society.[22] In 2013, it placed second in the general election, winning 19 seats.[23] 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.[24][25] Receiving 11 seats, they placed fourth and sat in the opposition.[26]

Party platform and positionsEdit

On 25 February 2019, Lapid stated that the party wishes to amend the Nation-State Bill, intending to add a civil equality article.[27] 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]

The party believes in creating strong and stable government by limiting the prime minister to eight years or three terms and preventing anyone convicted of a serious crime from being a public official.[28] They believe in a moral government that serves its citizens' interests, working to 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.[29] They aim to strengthen national security through developing the country's strategic capabilities and laying out a diplomatic initiative for peace with the Palestinians.[30] Core pluralistic Jewish values are central to their campaign: 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.[31]

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

  • Governmental corruption: Impose term limits on the prime minister to a maximum of three terms or eight years in order to ensure an open forum and democratic system.[28] Indicted or convicted politicians would be barred from running for public office.[28] Coalitions would be barred from using coalition funds for immoral activities that form an unfair burden on the public.[29] Freedom of press would be a fundamental component and entirely nondependent on the political system and/or economic interests.[30]
  • Religion and state: The protection of the Jewish identity of the state, as well as the identities of all of its citizens, would be of the utmost importance.[31] Civil marriage would be made permissible in Israel in some form,[32][33] allowing for every couple to marry according to their own beliefs.[31] The party would put into place the 2016 agreement to create an expanded place for egalitarian prayers at the Western Wall,[33] incorporating stronger measures of gender and religious equality between men and women to account for differing methodologies of prayer and practice.[31] (The 2016 agreement was frozen by the Netanyahu government following pressure from ultra-Orthodox coalition members.)[33]
  • Education: Blue and White seeks to invest in early education and kindergartens. Daycare for young children would be subsidized.[34] English and mathematics would be highly prioritized in elementary, middle, and high school.[30]
  • Health: Approximately 12.5 billion NIS (3.4 billion USD) would be invested in health care for all Israeli citizens.[35] The party has pledged to fight against hospital closings, and to increase access to medicines throughout the country, including the periphery.[35]
  • Economy: In order to increase Israel's per capita outcome, there would be a shift to a focus on macroeconomics as opposed to shortsighted microeconomic policies that do not properly expound a continual financial growth.[36] Blue and White seeks to encourage Israeli innovation in STEM fields, and to bring in more women and Hasidic Jews to the workplace.[30]

LeadersEdit

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.[38] 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.[39] Chili Tropper, number 12 on the party list, is Gantz's speechwriter and closest aide.[40]

Leader Took office Left office
  Benny Gantz 2019 Incumbent

Election resultsEdit

Election year Party Leader # of overall votes % of overall vote # of overall seats
won
+/- Gov?
April 2019 Benny Gantz
Yair Lapid
1,125,881 26.13 (#2)
35 / 120
New party TBD

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "After Replacing Netanyahu, Gantz's Party Will Self-destruct. And That's OK". Haaretz. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Blue and White". The Israel Democracy Institute. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  3. ^ Lahav Harkov (16 February 2019). "Histadrut chief Avi Nissenkorn joins Gantzs Israel Resilience Party". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  4. ^ JPost Editorial (17 March 2013). "A Capitalist Government". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  5. ^ Alon Yakter; Mark Tessler (26 February 2018). "Netanyahu's new rival is surging in Israel's polls". Washington Post. Gantz's centrist political party, Blue and White...
  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. ^ "Ex-Israeli Army Chief Benny Gantz, Considered Top Netanyahu Challenger, Launches Political Party". Haaretz. 27 December 2018.
  14. ^ Evans, Judith (23 January 2013). "Israeli election: Live Report". Yahoo! News Singapore. AFP. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  15. ^ Winer, Stuart. "Peace activist protests Knesset bid by scholar who slapped him". www.timesofisrael.com. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  16. ^ אנונימית (2 July 2018). "רוץ בני, רוץ: תקופת הצינון של הרמטכ"ל לשעבר תמה". רדיו קול חי.
  17. ^ "החדשות – "בני גנץ החליט להצטרף לפוליטיקה"". mako. 6 September 2018.
  18. ^ List of founders The Registrar of Political Parties website ‹See Tfd›(in Hebrew)
  19. ^ Magid, Jacob (12 March 2017). "Former defense minister Ya'alon officially quits Likud". The Times of Israel.
  20. ^ Raoul Wootliff (2 January 2019). "Former defense chief Ya'alon launches new political party, Telem". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  21. ^ Staff (30 January 2019). "Launching bid to replace Netanyahu, Gantz vows to unify Israel, end incitement". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  22. ^ Elise Garofalo (21 January 2013). "Israeli Election Primer – What You Should Know". Newshour. PBS. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  23. ^ Kershner, Isabel (23 January 2013). "Charismatic Leader Helps Israel Turn Toward the Center". The New York Times. pp. A10. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
  24. ^ Ido Ben Porat (9 February 2015). "Yesh Atid MK: We'll Prefer Herzog Over Netanyahu". Israel National News. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  25. ^ Jodi Rudoren (28 March 2015). "Israeli Center-Left Leader Seeks Path Forward". The New York Times. p. A8. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  26. ^ "ועדת הבחירות המרכזית לכנסת ה-20 | תוצאות ארציות". web.archive.org. 18 March 2015. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  27. ^ Lahav Harkov (25 February 2019). "What are Blue and White's plans for the Nation-State Law?". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  28. ^ a b c "מצע כחול לבן המלא פורסם: "לא תהיה התנתקות שנייה"". m.ynet.co.il. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  29. ^ a b 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.
  30. ^ a b c d "מצע כחול לבן 2019" (PDF).
  31. ^ a b c d "בחירות 2019: מצע מפלגת כחול לבן בתחום הדת והמדינה". על משמר הכנסת. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  32. ^ Everything You Need to Know About Benny Gantz, the General Vying to Take Down Netanyahu, Haaretz (April 7, 2019).
  33. ^ a b c Judy Maltz, Gantz's Party Promises non-Orthodox Recognition at Western Wall, Civil Marriages, Haartez (March 12, 2019).
  34. ^ "הגיל הרך | כחול-לבן". www.yeshatid.org.il (in Hebrew). Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  35. ^ 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.
  36. ^ "כלכלה, חברה ויוקר המחיה | כחול-לבן". www.yeshatid.org.il (in Hebrew). Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  37. ^ Jessen, Sophia (7 March 2019). "Yair Lapid Outlines Four Demands for Peace With Palestinians". Haaretz.
  38. ^ Gil Hoffman. "Gantz and Lapid's 'Blue and White' reveals list, only 2 women in top 10". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  39. ^ Staff writer. "New Israeli centrist alliance, to be called 'Blue and White,' aims to topple Netanyahu". World Israel News. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  40. ^ Hofstein, Avner. "Political life isn't easy for Gantz, and that's a good thing, says closest aide". www.timesofisrael.com. Retrieved 13 March 2019.