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Will Peretz's gamble pay off for Labor or bury it?

Labor Party chair Amir Peretz knows he needs to peel off voters from other parties and blocs, but does he have enough time?
Israel's former defence minister Amir Peretz pauses during news conference in Tel Aviv, January 31, 2008, following the presentation of the Winograd Commission findings on Wednesday. Israeli newspapers forecast Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's survival on Thursday after a report criticised the army and his government's conduct during a 2006 war in Lebanon but offered him a political reprieve. REUTERS/Gil Cohen Magen (ISRAEL) - GM1DXDWEZZAA
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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.

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