Interview with MK Merav Michaeli (Labor)

MK Merav Michaeli, a member of Israel’s Labor Party, discussed the April 9 election, the possibility of a Gantz-led government that Labor would be part of, and Trump’s Middle East peace plan in an interview with Jewish Insider’s Jacob Kornbluh during AIPAC’s policy conference last week.

Pointing to the policies of the Netanyahu government, Michaeli stated that this “is a conscious choice that the prime minister made because it is beneficial for him personally politically. I don’t know how much he is giving an account himself on how damaging it is for Israel, but he is definitely choosing his own personal good over the good of the state of Israel.”

What role do you see the Labor Party play in a future government of Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid? we asked.

“My party’s role is to make sure that Gantz-Lapid really become an alternative to Netanyahu and do not exercise the same wrong policies and take the same wrong right-wing path as some of the people on their lists plan or would want to,” she replied. “We want to make sure that the way Gantz goes is the closest as possible to the way that Labor is offering because I know that what we are offering is what Israel needs.”

Michaeli on whether the center-left camp could join a Netanyahu government if Trump’s peace plan presents a chance to change Israel’s direction for the better: “Unfortunately when Isaac ‘Buji’ Herzog was the chair of the Zionist Union, he offered Netanyahu an amazing geopolitical opportunity with Arab countries. Even el-Sisi, the president of Egypt, came out on record saying he would back such a plan. It was a huge opportunity for Israel, for its security and for its sustainability, but Netanyahu turned it down in the last moment and created an alliance with Lieberman. The same thing happened with John Kerry. Netanyahu had several opportunities to pursue the peace process when everything was offered to him, and he chose not to take that direction. There’s no single sign or reason for me to believe that it would be different this time. So, I don’t see Labor serving Netanyahu at yet another round that will end with nothing. No.”

Michaeli on Trump’s Golan recognition: “It’s not a gift for Israel. It’s a gift for Netanyahu. A gift for Israel would have been to have Israel engaged in negotiations between the U.S. and Russia to move the Iranians out of Syria. This is what Israel needs from President Trump, not the recognition of our sovereignty over the Golan. We need the Golan safe without the Iranians, something that could have been achieved in talks between Russia and the U.S. and this we didn’t get. This is a much more serious thing for Israel that unfortunately, this is not what Netanyahu is using his relationship with President Trump for.”

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