Shinui Chairman MK Tommy Lapid will meet with Labor Party Chairman Amram Mitzna, who phoned him yesterday and asked to speak to him about the election results. Lapid said at the opening of the first faction meeting held with all 15 Shinui MKs that Shinui does not plan to retreat from its coalition demands and called on Mitzna to display flexibility.

Lapid said, “Mr. Mitzna is the one who has blocked his party and after the Labor Party’s defeat, a way has to be found to rescue it from paralysis. It is important that Labor be part of the coalition because it is still very relevant.

Lapid believes that the Labor Party will eventually join the coalition. He based this, among other reasons, on what Shimon Peres said–that the path is what is important.

It appears that Shinui has adopted the tactic of putting persistent psychological pressure on Labor, by means of a determined stand by the entire faction, and at a later stage it will even take public steps, like having thousands of Shinui supporters demonstrate opposite Labor Party headquarters.

However, Lapid also said that in the case of war, Shinui would be willing to join a national emergency government even with Haredim: “We will sit in the government from the first missile to the last missile. We will not use the war as an excuse. If there is a war and the prime minister asks us, we will consent”.

As to a coalition partnership with UTJ (Agudat Yisrael), Lapid said that this is possible because UTJ does not sit in the government, but is only a coalition partner.

Lapid’s remarks were backed up by all the faction members. However, MK Avraham Poraz, number two in Shinui, made remarks implying that Shinui was likely to find itself in a unity government even without the Labor Party. He said, “The Likud must make Labor a very tempting offer… but I want to make it clear that the keys to Shinui’s office are not in the same place as the keys to the Labor Party. We are not Labor Party marionettes, we want the Labor Party very much, we will lie on the fence for it and will even give up on jobs and positions for it”.

However, the possibility is being considered that despite Shinui’s strength, it will find itself in the opposition.

Poraz told the new MKs: “There is a chance that in the end, we will sit in the opposition; that is where a new MK in particular can stand out prominently. Tommy and I will perhaps be more upset”.

MK Yossi Paritzky said, “They can get along without us. Our path is completely contrary to that of Shas and the prime minister has to make an ideological decision and decide which of us he wants. We want a real upheaval in matters of state and religion”.

MK Yehudit Naot adopted the same line: “How can we sit together with Haredim if they are in favor of the Large Families Law? How can we revoke the Tal Law in this government? There is a consensus in Shinui. We have an agenda, we do not plan to fall apart the way Dash did. We are here for the long term… It’s been said about us that we are Tommy’s dwarves. I want to make it clear that this faction has members with independent opinions, it’s a very opinionated faction, and we’ll prove this. It’s true that Tommy is the undisputed leader, but he is surrounded by an independent and eloquent group of people”.

Shinui has not yet set up a coalition negotiating team and has decided to wait and see who will be on the Likud negotiating team. [… ]. Yesterday the faction met in Tel Aviv. [… ]. Lapid presented Shinui’s conditions and was given sweeping support. Everyone agreed that Shinui must not betray its promises, because this is the source of its strength. [… ]