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Photo by: Itzik Harari, Knesset Spokesman
Livni quits Knesset, vows to stay in public life
By LAHAV HARKOV
01/05/2012
During meeting with Knesset Speaker Rivlin, Livni says she does not regret her past political endeavors, slams current gov't.
 
Former opposition and Kadima leader Tzipi Livni resigned from the Knesset and her party on Tuesday, saying she would continue working to better Israel’s future.

“My principles and my values require me to leave the Kadima faction in the Knesset,” she explained. “I have always said a seat is not everything, and at this point I must leave my seat in the Knesset.”

Livni’s resignation came a month after her loss to Shaul Mofaz in the Kadima leadership race. In the weeks following Mofaz’s victory, she hid from the public eye, making few statements on Facebook or Twitter and not revealing her plans.

The former foreign minister vowed that she was not leaving public life, and would work to improve the country.

“The State of Israel is too dear to me [for me] to stop dealing with its problems and its citizens,” she said. “It deserves better than what the current policies have to offer.”

Livni thanked her supporters, specifically the MKs who stood with her during the Kadima race, commending their “spine and personal strength.”

She pointed out that during her leadership, the party had received more votes than any other party in the last election, under a banner of clean politics backed with principles.

“I am not sorry I did not give in to political blackmail. I am not sorry I opposed stopping the diplomatic process, which is the key to the future of Israel, even if it cost me the job of prime minister. I am not sorry that I did not agree to sell the country to haredim [the ultra- Orthodox] just to be prime minister,” she stated in a press conference at the Knesset.

She emphasized the issue of negotiations with the Palestinians, saying that although it was not the public’s top concern at present, a true leader would promote the topic “even if it’s not in style at the moment.”

According to Livni, there is an immediate need to come to a permanent agreement with the Arab and Palestinian world in order to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish, democratic state.

Following her speech, she gave her resignation letter to Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, who said he was sure that she had not yet exhausted her potential in politics.

Her resignation in the Knesset will be valid as of Monday, when Yuval Tzelner will take her place. Livni is the fifth Kadima MK to depart since the start of the 18th Knesset.

Following Livni’s press conference, Kadima released a statement saying her resignation was unfortunate, but the party, under Mofaz’s leadership, would win the next election as the only real alternative to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

“A senior position is reserved for Tzipi Livni, should she decide to return to political activity in Kadima during the upcoming election,” the party said.

Kadima MK Yohanan Plesner thanked Livni for her contribution to founding the party, adding that he believed she would find a way to stay part of Kadima outside of the Knesset.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak called her an “Israeli patriot who worked responsibly for Israel in international arenas as foreign minister,” and said she had been able to separate politics from the country’s diplomatic and security interests.

Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich said she was sorry to see Livni leave, because she was a fair and worthy person with extensive experience in diplomacy.

MK Danny Danon (Likud) predicted Kadima’s demise as a “valueless, trendy party that will find itself drowning fast.”

“Soon we’ll see Kadima MKs following Livni, who abandoned a sinking ship,” he added. “There is no room for them in the Likud.”
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