The latest polls are predicting the Green party between two to three MKs in the next election. The threshold for entering the Knesset is 2% of all legal votes (2.4 MKs), and the Greens might not only make history (there has never been an environmental movement in the Knesset), but also make the difference between a Right Wing narrow victory and an actual landslide.
The only problem is that nobody knows who is this “Green Party” the polls refers to.
Currently there are two major Environmental parties running for the Knesset. The first is called “The Greens”, and it is led by the deputy mayor of Tel Aviv and long time activist, Peer Visner. Under Visner’s leadership, the party got 47 representatives elected in 22 councils in the last municipal elections. 100,000 people, who equal around 4 seats in the Knesset, voted for The Greens, who are a well known “brand name” by now.
The only problem is that Visner is very unpopular [Hebrew] among the grass roots environmental activists. Most of them support the newly formed “Green Movement”, led by Eran Ben Yemini and Professor Alon Tal, the founders of two important environmental movements (“Megama Yeruka”and “Adam, Teva Va-Din”, respectively). And while “The Greens” represent a more old-fashioned perception of environmental issues, “The Green Movement” is trying to integrate them into a somewhat socialist “red” agenda.
It is clear to everyone that running on separate platforms might result in none of them passing the 2% threshold, but recent talks of merge between the two parties failed [Hebrew], and if to be honest, didn’t seem too serious to begin with. Some people in “The green Movement” consider joining Meretz, while others think they stand a reasonable chance running on their own (they don’t). I even heard some activists say that they rather fail in entering the Knesset than see Peer Visner getting there. And what about Visner? All he had to say is that “The Green Movement is a bunch of leftists”. Visner himself is considered a centrist, if not a conservative, politician.
It could look like petty politics on its worst, but I believe this split is another demonstration of the difficulties of promoting a civil society agenda while the Palestinian problem remains unsolved.