Opposition leader Tzipi Livni fiercely criticized the government at a meeting of her Kadima faction at the Knesset on Monday, accusing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak of causing the state irrevocable harm.
Livni, who has had informal discussions with Netanyahu about the possibility of eventually entering the coalition, made clear on Monday that she was far from forming a national-unity government with Likud and Labor.
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"Bibi and Barak are destroying the country," Livni told Kadima's MKs. "They are going from one crisis to another and leading Israel to one of the worst situations in its history. Israel has a problem not because of the perception that the entire world is against us, but because of the government's problematic policies."
Livni made the comments at the request of MK Ya'akov Edri, who complained that Kadima MKs had given a false impression that the party wanted to join the coalition at any price. MK Nachman Shai, for instance, spoke about an urgent need for Kadima to join the coalition in a speech on Saturday in Holon.
"We need different policies, supported by a different coalition," Livni said. "It is not happening because Netanyahu does not want to change his ways or his government but only to survive. Clearly, the solution is not to save this government but to replace it and save the country."
Likud MK Ophir Akunis, who heads the party's response team, said in reaction to Livni that "it is unfortunate that Ms. Livni is stooping to hysteria rather than keeping her cool and displaying leadership." He said that Livni was the last person who could scold Netanyahu, because "she was a minister for 10 years and she cannot point to a single accomplishment."
Akunis added that the governments Livni was a part of brought Israel's security to a nadir and the left the economy on the verge of collapse and that she left herself susceptible to the attacks of the Goldstone Report.
Labor chairman Ehud Barak rejected a request by his predecessor, MK Amir Peretz, on Monday to give Netanyahu an ultimatum that if he did not bring Kadima into the government, Labor would bolt the coalition.
"This is not the appropriate time for ultimatums," Barak said.
When Peretz interrupted Barak and asked him when the appropriate time would be, Barak ignored him.