While environmental issues have lately become a high priority on The Tzipi Livni
Party agenda, the movement’s namesake told The Jerusalem Post that green
concerns were not always on her radar.
“I admit that the environment did
not drive me to enter politics,” she said Tuesday afternoon, following a party
rally on the sand dunes of Palmahim Beach. Just minutes before, as aquamarine
waves lapped the shoreline in the background, Livni and Green Movement chairman
Alon Tal – No. 13 on Livni’s list – sang a duet of the Israeli folk song
Members of the Green Movement and The Tzipi Livni Party were
visiting the beach in support of the ongoing environmental campaign to rid the
beach of hotly contested vacation complex building plans. Livni and her
colleagues stopped at the site as part of a nationwide bus tour they are
conducting that began on Monday at David Ben-Gurion’s grave in Sde Boker and
ends on Thursday at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
Acknowledging that she
had never before been deeply involved in environmental issues during her
political career, Livni stressed that she was now taking a holistic approach –
and that politics, the economy and the environment are all connected
Key to developing her party’s environmental agenda, Livni told
the Post, was the opportunity to join forces with the Green Movement and include
its voices in her overall campaign platform.
“They are in a way our
compass, and those who can give us what we need in order to have a clear
platform on these issues,” Livni said. “And as we agreed, it’s not just to have
one representative in parliament – we are going to work together as two parties.
Not only do they have one representative, they have all [The Tzipi Livni Party]
members, in order to vote for and promote these issues.”
Despite the fact
that The Tzipi Livni Party offices on Hamasger Street in Tel Aviv are only
around a month old, they have undergone an environmental transformation since
the Green Movement joined the party’s list. In each party office is now a bright
green cardboard box for paper recycling, and decorating various places in the
building are signs in Hebrew reading “The Green Movement” – modified versions of
those with the text: “The Movement” of Tzipi Livni.
Tal praised Livni’s
“strategic decision to include sustainability” in the “political DNA” of the
party, stressing the importance of creating an Israel where quality of life is
part of the citizens’ reality.
In addition to visiting Palmahim during
this week’s bus tour, Livni also headed to a petrochemicals plant in Haifa on
Wednesday and will be riding the light rail in Jerusalem on Thursday, he
“[Livni’s] uncompromising will to preserve Palmahim is the
harbinger of a whole range of environmental achievements which we expect during
the coming years,” Tal said. “It’s a new emphasis, but it’s a new party.”