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Will Shelly Yachimovich Win Back Israel's Left?

Shelly Yachimovich, leader of the Labor Party, declared that she will not join a Likud-led government, in a last-minute attempt to win back her leftist electorate, writes Mazal Mualem.
Israel's Labour party leader Shelly Yachimovich (L) shakes hands with Noam Shalit after a news conference in Beit Berl, north of Tel Aviv January 10, 2012. Shalit, the father of Gilad Shalit, a soldier who was held for over five years in Hamas captivity and was released in October 2011, announced on Monday his intention to seek a place in the Labour Party list for the next general elections. REUTERS/Nir Elias (ISRAEL - Tags: POLITICS)
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For long weeks, [Israeli] Labor party leader Shelly Yachimovich has managed to avoid closing any doors to a post-election coalition agreement with [Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu. She insisted on leaving open the option of joining forces with him even following the alliance forged by Netanyahu and Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Liberman, which painted the future government the colors of the extreme right just as the election campaign was launched.

And even when, in the past few weeks, Netanyahu turned further to the right, driven by the loss of mandates to Naftali Bennett’s [far-right] HaBayit HaYehudi party [as indicated by the polls], she kept to this strategy of hers. She managed to maintain her right to silence even when the Israeli government set out to build hundreds of housing units in East Jerusalem, antagonizing both Europe and the United States.

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