Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich and Yesh Atid chief Yair Lapid launched a blistering attack on Hatnua leader Tzipi Livni on Monday for presenting a "false version" of a tripartite meeting they held late Sunday.
The attack highlights friction between Israel's main opposition parties who are attempting to present a united front against a prospective Netanyahu-led coalition.
The three politicians had met to discuss the potential formation of a Center-Left bloc to challenge Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in the upcoming elections.
In a joint press release on Monday evening, however, Yacimovich and Lapid said, "we agreed to attend the meeting because of a mutual respect for one another, despite our vast ideological divides. We were shocked to discover we were nothing but fodder for a calculated spin, which had not an ounce of truth or content."
They continued: "It is now clear that invitations for joint meetings were nothing but political exercises by Livni, borne out of her free fall in polling.... This is the same Tzipi Livni that prevented the establishment of a centrist bloc prior to the submission of party lists."
In response, Livni issued a statement denouncing "The unfortunate and unnecessary reaction" by Yacimovich and Lapid. According to Livni, this "proves that they coordinated their positions before the meeting, during the meeting and after the meeting, in order to prevent the truth from surfacing - that they are self-serving and thus refuse to form a cohesive unit that can provide hope to the public."
"Their self-interest," Livni continued "precludes them from continuing discussions, but instead leads them to engage in spins and mudslinging.
"It is time the public learns the truth about their personal motives."
Livni called for Yacimovich and Lapid to form a “united front” toward victory over the Likud-Beytenu joint list, in an interview with Channel 2 News last Friday, two days after Yacimovich put herself at the fore of the Center-Left bloc by saying she would rather be opposition leader than join a Netanyahu coalition.
Jerusalem Post Annual Conference. Buy it now, Special offer. Come meet Israel's top leaders