How Blue and White is both left and right

The party formed to represent the Israeli center has been going to extremes.On one side there are the loud voices from the Left side of the party, but there are voices on the Center-Right side as well.On the Center-Left, there is Tourism Minister Asaf Zamir, whose resignation takes effect on Monday; Science and Technology Minister Izhar Shay, who almost quit last week; and MKs Miki Haimovich and Ram Shefa, who voted against limits on political demonstrations in the Knesset.Haimovich made news on Sunday, when she said there is a group that is growing in Blue and White that is interested in breaking up the partnership with Likud. Other MKs talked about starting to vote more independently.But even if they are growing, they are still the minority in the party. The overwhelming majority of the MKs in the Blue and White-Derech Eretz-Labor bloc prefers staying the course and continuing the strategy of fighting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from within his government.Cynics believe they are using that strategy just to lay low in hopes a rotation in the Prime Minister’s Office is still possible in another year. Blue and White’s critics say they are just acting out of weakness and clinging to cabinet seats, either out of greed or due to their inability to admit that they were wrong to join in the first place.But the majority of the MKs in Blue and White’s bloc believe they are doing what is right for the country and for the party.They do not apologize for voting to limit protests that cause crowds during a pandemic. They remember that they entered the government to fight the coronavirus, not to support demonstrations against themselves.They are using their roles in the cabinet and the Knesset to advance the centrist ideology that they share, and they are offended by suggestions that ideology never even existed. That ideology is a lot more than anyone but Bibi.But even strategically for defeating Netanyahu, they believe they are being smart by staying right where they are in key positions of power and influence.If they would leave Netanyahu’s government right now, he would remain in office and take over the Justice, Foreign Affairs, Defense and Communications portfolios. Policies in all those ministries would change dramatically immediately.Even if an election would be set, he would find ways to postpone it, due to the pandemic. They would be blamed for the election, no matter when it happens.Netanyahu’s trial is about to start, which will undoubtedly weaken him. As President Reuven Rivlin advised Shay last week, resigning is a weapon you can only use once.So meanwhile, Shay, Shefa, Haimovich and Zamir will continue making the most noise.But the more soft spoken Culture Minister Chili Tropper, Diaspora Affairs Minister Omer Yankelevich, Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel, Immigrant Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata and MKs Michal Cotler-Wunsh, Tehila Friedman and Hila Vazan are still the dominant voices in the party.

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