Labor chairwoman Shelly Yechimovich used her last day as opposition leader on
Wednesday to settle scores with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Kadima
head Shaul Mofaz, who will inherit her title when his resignation from the
cabinet takes effect at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Yechimovich will pass on to
Mofaz the perks entitled to the opposition leader, some of which she refused to
accept, such as a fancy car, and others which she fought against, like the
constant accompaniment of bodyguards.
Diplomatic protocol will now
require visiting dignitaries to meet with Mofaz, but Russian President Vladimir
Putin, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other key international
visitors found ways to avoid meeting with Yechimovich.
A bill presented
by Labor MK Isaac Herzog to dissolve the Knesset was voted down by a 53-27 vote
Wednesday afternoon, following a fiery speech by Yechimovich calling for new
elections and blasting the short-lived national-unity government.
at the end of a political circus that unfortunately lasted more than two
months,” Yechimovich said.
“It brought shame to the entire political
system. This was a new low in political opportunism and spin. It was pathetic to
the point of amusement but more than that it was dangerous, because it could
make the public lose its faith in politics.”
Yechimovich called on the
prime minister to disperse the Knesset before its three-month summer recess
begins Wednesday. She recommended a November 27 election date, but acknowledged
that Netanyahu would not take her advice.
“Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu has a vision,” she said mockingly. “That vision is called Binyamin
Netanyahu. After he was declared King Bibi [by Time magazine], we see he cares
about his political survival at any price, not about any vision or path on
civil, diplomatic or socioeconomic issues. He doesn’t care about the citizens –
only about citizen Netanyahu.”
“How can we trust someone like that?”
Disputing assessments that Netanyahu will inevitably
win the next election, she said he “is a strong politician but he is a
politician and politicians rise and fall.”
Yechimovich also predicted
Kadima’s disappearance from the political map after the next election, which she
said would be fought between Likud and Labor.
A Kadima spokesman
responded that Yechimovich had taken Labor to the “post- Zionist Left” and that
she never represented the “sane political Center.” The spokesman also said
Yechimovich had made no effort to help equalize the burden of IDF
“Yechimovich is empty of content,” the spokesman said. “She has
never accomplished anything or run anything.
Kadima by contrast is more
relevant than ever, and as the largest party, represents the views of most of
the Zionist public.”
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