Labor Party leader Shelly Yacimovich said Saturday that the government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was "making a terrible mistake by turning the Iranian threat into the central problem of Israel."
Yacimovich said in an interview with Channel 2 that Iran should be presented as the whole world's problem, not merely an Israeli problem. She stated that while "all options are on the table," a military strike should always be the final option. The Labor leader emphasized the importance of Israel being in complete coordination with the United states on the Iranian issue.
In the lead up to early elections, expected to be called for September 4 in the coming week, Yacimovich reiterated her contention that she, and not Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz, is the only alternative to Netanyahu. A Dahaf Institute poll sponsored by the Knesset Channel showed Wednesday that Labor would take 17 mandates in the elections, second to the Likud's 31 projected mandates.
The former journalist rejected concerns that she lacked the political experience to lead the country, saying US President Barack Obama had less government experience than she did when he was elected in 2008.
Yacimovich failed to speak specifically about what her policy on Iran would be, only saying that world powers were continuing to pressure Iran on its nuclear program and sanctions against the Islamic Republic had not yet been maximized. She called into question Netanyahu's decision-making on the Iran issue, saying that criticism of the prime minister's Iran policy from former senior defense establishment officials was cause for concern.
When asked about the peace process with the Palestinians, Yacimovich stated that while both the Israelis and the Palestinians shared responsibility for the impasse in negotiations, she would immediately launch direct talks with PA President Mahmoud Abbas if she were prime minister.
Yacimovich said that the two-state solution remained the only viable path to a peace agreement and referred to growing calls from both the left and the right for one, bi-national state as "dangerous."
The Labor leader stated that while her goal was to replace Netanyahu as prime minister, she would also be willing to join a social democratic coalition with the Likud in the right circumstances. She added that being opposition leader was also a great honor if it was not possible to form a fitting coalition.