|Photo by: Nir Elias/Reuters|
Livni aims at Center-Left rivals Yacimovich, Lapid
By GIL HOFFMAN
After Labor, Yesh Atid commit to refraining from criticizing each other, Livni lashes out at political rivals, Netanyahu.
Former foreign minister Tzipi Livni took a different approach from her
counterparts in the Center-Left bloc on Sunday when she continued attacking them
in an effort to win votes at their expense.
Since Labor, Yesh Atid and
The Tzipi Livni party failed to unite the Center-Left bloc by Thursday’s
deadline, Labor and Yesh Atid committed themselves to attacking Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu’s government and its policies and promised to refrain from
criticizing each other. It appeared Livni would take the same approach when she
unveiled slogans Saturday night that differentiated herself from Netanyahu and
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.
But at a campaign event at Tel Aviv’s
Beit Sokolov on Sunday, Livni followed up attacks on Netanyahu on several key
issues with fierce criticism of Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid’s focus on
education and Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich’s targeting of the socioeconomic
“I hear those who say why deal with equalizing service,” Livni
said. “They say let’s talk about housing and prices. That is really important
and so is education, which is the basis for equalizing rights. But whoever sells
the public that it is possible to provide a solution to these problems without
solving the issues [of the Palestinians and universalizing service] is
misleading the public,” she said.
Livni accused Yacimovich and Lapid of
holding back punches on key issues in order to find favor with Netanyahu so he
would include them in his coalition.
“They think they will pace their way
into the government,” Livni said mockingly.
“Why talk about the
diplomatic issue when it can cause a conflict with the extreme Right? Why talk
about a universal draft when it could cause a conflict with the haredim? Real
social justice requires real decisions, decisions that that the government has
refused to make until now – which we will make.”
Livni slammed Netanyahu
on the universal service issue, accusing him of “spitting in the face of the
Zionist majority that works, studies, pays taxes and carries the security and
economic burden.” She said that before her party was founded, there was no party
to fight for such people, “even though there are those in our bloc who are
trying to gain politically on the backs of those who carry the
On the diplomatic issue, Livni accused the prime minister of
taking Israel in the direction of a bi-national state by not advancing the peace
process and enabling the strengthening of Hamas to justify saying that there is
no Palestinian peace partner.
Former defense minister Amir Peretz, whose
resignation as a Labor MK from the Knesset took effect Sunday, said he was
impressed by the chemistry in the first meeting of the candidates of The Tzipi
Livni party Sunday. He predicted that in a week or two the polls will look very
different from current surveys, which show the party winning no more than 10
seats in the next Knesset.
“People will start to realize that the
election is Tzipi against Bibi [Netanyahu],” Peretz said.
anti-Livni campaign began Sunday highlighting Livni’s lack of achievements and
the criticism her party’s number two, Amram Mitzna, had of its number three,
“A vote for Livni is a wasted vote,” the campaign’s slogan said.
“A wasted vote is a vote for Bibi.”