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Livni aims at Center-Left rivals Yacimovich, Lapid
By GIL HOFFMAN
12/09/2012
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 issue.

“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 burden.”

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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.

Meanwhile, an 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, Peretz.

“A vote for Livni is a wasted vote,” the campaign’s slogan said. “A wasted vote is a vote for Bibi.”
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