JERUSALEM (JTA) — Labor Party chairman Amir Peretz has given a whole new meaning to the expression “Read my lips.”
Peretz sacrificed the mustache that he has sported in various stages of bushiness for the past 47 years to make a point about a future unity government.
“I decided to remove my mustache so that all of Israel will understand exactly what I’m saying and will be able to read my lips: I won’t sit with Bibi,” Peretz said in an interview Sunday night on Israel’s Channel 12, rejecting the possibility that his Labor-Gesher union would join a government led by Benjamin Netanyahu.
Some pundits suggested that Peretz pulled the stunt in order to get more air time and revive his party’s sagging campaign.
“In the end, no one will remember anything about Peretz’s attempt to stifle rumors of a deal with Netanyahu, save for him sacrificing his mustache on the altar of his own irrelevance,” Einav Schiff wrote in Ynet, calling the interview “one of the saddest things seen on the small screen in recent years.”
The once-dominant Labor Party is expected to barely pass the electoral threshold that would allow it a seat in the Knesset. The Labor-Gesher union is polling at four to five seats with three weeks to go before the national election.
Peretz said his upper lip will remain hairless until after the Sept. 17 vote.
Fun fact: Peretz trimmed his mustache for the first time in 2002 when the country’s Association for the Deaf contacted the veteran Knesset member to tell him that its members could not understand him because they could not see his lips.