Photo Credit: Esty Dziubov/TPS
MK Eli Avidar

Knesset Member Eli Avidar, founder of the “Free Democratic Israel” party, resigned his post Monday in the Knesset.

Ex-Yisrael Beytenu MK Eli Avidar Launches New Party, But Faces Legal Action Over Name

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Avidar quit the Yisrael Beytenu party last June after he was passed over for a ministerial post in the Bennett-Lapid coalition government. He was enticed to return with a ministerial post at the Prime Minister’s Office, but eventually quit again, citing the lack of any real power in the position.

Speaking to reporters in a briefing held at the Israeli parliament building, Avidar said he felt obligated to return his seat as soon as possible, according to a report by Israel’s Channel 13 News.

Avidar served as a minister in the Prime Minister’s Office for less than a year, from 2021 to 2022. Prior to his entering the Knesset in 2019, Avidar was the president of a fintech startup, and vice president of the World Jewelry Confederation. He served from 1992 to 2006 in various senior diplomatic posts in Israel’s foreign ministry, serving primarily in positions that involved outreach to the greater Arab world.

He also took the opportunity to attack the new political alliance between Blue & White party leader Benny Gantz, New Hope party leader Gideon Sa’ar, and political newcomer Gadi Eisenkot, former IDF Chief of Staff.

Eisenkot, Kahana, Join Gantz & Sa’ar, May Clip Lapid’s Mandates

Former Minister of Religious Services Matan Kahana (Yamina) is also joining Eisenkot, the defense minister (Gantz) and justice minister (Sa’ar) in the new party, to be named the ‘National Camp.’ Israeli media reported Sunday that Gantz will be in first place on the new party’s list, Sa’ar second, and Eisenkot third. Kahana will be in 9th place, using one of Eisenkot’s 4 slots in the party’s top 18 list.

Avidar contends that Eisenkot, Gantz and Sa’ar are “preparing the groundwork for a meeting with [Likud leader Benjamin] Netanyahu… Eisenkot’s answers regarding Netanyahu are unconvincing,” he said.

He urged his colleagues to unite behind Yesh Atid Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

The now-former MK told reporters that he plans in future to pass a law against political defectors. That may not come to pass, however: in Sunday night’s Channel 13 poll, Avidar did not receive even a single vote, the news outlet said.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.