The formation of an alliance last month between the Labor Party, headed by Amir Peretz, and Gesher, led by Orly Levy-Abekasis, failed to produce an outburst of enthusiasm on the Israeli left. True, in May 2016, the left cheered on Levy-Abekasis when she left Yisrael Beitenu to form Gesher as a one-person faction in the Knesset — “Orly, come home to where you belong,” Labor Knesset member Itzik Shmuli had said — but this time, when the bride arrived for the wedding, few on the left showered her with love.
The change in attitude apparently stemmed from Labor-Gesher rejecting the idea of joining the Democratic Camp, the alliance of former Prime Minister Ehud Barak's Democratic Israel and Meretz. The ensuing cries of despair gave birth to allegations that Peretz had sold his soul to Satan (aka Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) in exchange for senior positions in his right-wing government and perhaps even for the presidency. Meanwhile, Peretz promised to bring voters from the right to Labor and swore up and down that he would never enter a Netanyahu government. Still, the skeptics remained skeptical.