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Israel Political Parties: Ha'Tnuah

Ha'Tnuah ("The Movement," in Hebrew) is a center-left Zionist Israeli political party. Founded in November 2012 by former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Ha'Tnuah members include many former Kadima and Labor party members dissatisfied with their parties, including Amram Mitzna, Amir Peretz, and Meir Sheetrit.

Livni, a foremost centrist leader in Israeli politics, left Kadima and formed Ha'Tnuah in order to "make Israel a country that embraces liberal and Zionist values."

Ha'Tnuah's platform is based around making peace with the Palestinians, social justice in Israel, environmental protection, military or national service for all citizens and religious pluralism. The party motto is: "For Israelis who seek a country that embraces harmony and respect as opposed to polarization; a peace process rather than intransigence, and hope rather than despair – Ha'Tnua constitutes a new political development whose time has come."

In Ha'Tnuah's first electoral cycle - the January 2013 elections - the party won just over 5% of the popular vote and was awarded 6 seats in the Knesset, making it the seventh largest political party in Israel.

On February 19, 2013, Livni held a joint press conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announcing that Ha'Tnuah would become the first party to join his coalition following the January 2013 elections. Livni was appointed as the incoming Justice Minister and was tapped to lead the Israeli peace negotiating team.

"Two-and-a-half months ago we established Ha'Tnuah with the intention of fighting for a peace deal," Livni said at the press conference. "Iran, Syria, the Palestinians are not less pressing than these domestic issues." Livni added a call for other parties to "set aside their campaigning" and join a wide Netanyahu-led coalition.

Tzipi Livni and her Ha'Tnuah party joined forces with Issac Herzog and the Labor party to run on a joint ticket titled the "Zionist Camp" ticket in the March 2015 elections.  The two leaders agreed on a rotation system, should they be victorious, in which Herzog would serve as Prime Minister for the first two years of the term, followed by Livni.  The day before the election, on March 16, 2015, Livni announced that the rotation schedule that she and Herzog had designed was going to be scrapped, in an apparent last minute attempt to gain swing votes. Political rivals lambasted the decision, saying that Livni and Herzog were “panicking”.

Netanyahu's lawyer, attorney David Shimron, and Likud's Youth chairman, David Shain, accused the "Zionist Camp" ticket of systematically violating multiple Israeli election laws on February 5.  They accused the Labor and Ha'Tnuah parties of "raising money, engaging in organizational coordination and engaging in propaganda," and stated that the Zionist Camp ticket "is encouraging people to vote against Likud – in other words, it is engaging in forbidden propaganda."  The complaint alleges that the party has been illegally using millions of Shekels that have been coming from NGO's and has been submitted to the Central Elections Committee, who will decide if the claims have any validity.  Included in the complaint are accusations that the Labor and Ha'Tnuah parties "attempted to buy power with money... millions of dollars that come from leftists abroad are being funneled to finance the campaign to topple Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud."  The Zionist Camp has denied these accusations. 

Polls in the week leading up to the election put the Labor/Ha'Tnuah Zionist Camp ticket slightly ahead of Netanyahu's Likud party, winning a predicted 25 or 26 seats to Likud's predicted 21 or 22.

On March 18, 2015, the final election results came in and it was revealed that Netanyahu and his Likud party had beaten the Zionist Union ticket of Livni and Herzog. The Zionist Union ticket received enough votes for 24 out of 120 seats in the 20th Knesset, coming in second place.

Sources: Ha'Tnuah Official Site; Jerusalem Post (February 19, 2013); Haaretz (February 5, 2015); Politico (March 15, 2015)