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Beilin and Dayan Reinforce Meretz

12 December 2002

By Yisrael Ne’eman

Labor left wingers Yossi Beilin and Yael Dayan were not awarded reasonable slots for election on their party’s list this week and have resigned, moving over to Meretz.  Hoping to bolster the left wing Zionist faction’s chances to obtain more seats they are to be given the 11th and 12th places.  Until now Meretz was expected to poll only nine mandates but with the addition of these two well known Labor left politicians there are those like Meretz chairman Yossi Sarid who expect to add another 3 – 4 mandates.

Beilin, speaking on the Voice of Israel Radio station denied any ‘opportunism’ mentioning he did not like the Labor list since most support a National Unity Government after the elections, an arrangement he opposed in 2001 – 02.  Beilin claims that even had he managed an electable position on Labor’s list he would have moved to Meretz.  He cites the election of chairman Amram Mitzna as the only change made to date and otherwise declares everything has remained much the same.  What he did not say is that along with himself and Dayan, Yossi Katz, who advocates the return of 100,000 Palestinian refugees or more and Tzali Reshef, a hard line left winger from Peace Now were also forced from any reasonable chance of election. 

Sarid defines the Likud as right wing and Labor as centerist.  He has a point even if somewhat overstated.  The Labor rank and file shifted a bit to the center, trying to offset Mitzna’s leftist platform.  The Likud slid to the right, following Netanyahu and balancing PM Sharon’s more centrist stance.  Sarid calls on anyone considering himself as part of the true Left to vote Meretz.  Labor however is still more to the left than to the center, just check whatever differences can be found in the party platforms.  It will be interesting to note how much these two will attack the more centrist Shinui.

The Beilin and Dayan move will be tested at the polls by Laborites who will either overtly shift alliances in a move to scuttle an NUG after the elections or they will continue to vote Labor, allowing for the consideration of the idea.