Tzipi Livni on Friday renewed her campaign against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, saying he was "leading to an end of the Jewish state," just a day after a new Jerusalem Post/Globes-commissioned poll revealed that her party was losing ground to the joint Likud-Beytenu list.
"The Israeli citizens face a choice between extremism and Zionism," she said. "The State of Israel is in grave danger and everyone must wake up now," she said.
The Likud-Beytenu list has gained support for the first time in more than a month, according to a Smith Research poll conducted this week for The Jerusalem Post and the financial newspaper Globes. The poll found that Likud Beytenu rose two seats from 32 to 34, while The Movement fell from 10 to eight.
“Right-wing voters are returning, because they are starting to understand that in this election, it is important to strengthen the Likud in the face of attempts by the Left to return to power and push Israel to divide Jerusalem and return to pre-1967 borders,” said coalition chairman MK Ze’ev Elkin, who heads the party’s campaign in the national-religious sector.
Livni made headlines this week for efforts to consolidate a Center-Left bloc ahead of the January 22 elections. She met with Labor head Shelly Yacimovich and Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid in an effort to present a united opposition as an alternative to another Netanyahu-led government. The tripartite meeting ultimately failed to reach its goals, with Yacimovich and Lapid accusing Livni of using them as "fodder for a calculated spin."
On Friday, Livni also warned that Netanyahu is trying to dupe the Israel public into believing there is no Palestinian partner for peace. "Netanyahu will do everything to say that there is no partner and that there is no hope for peace," Livni said. "But I was at the negotiating table. I led the talks. I know that a deal can be reached."
She continued: "Netanyahu is aiming in every direction and is using any means necessary to convince everyone that there is no hope for peace. He says that the whole world is against us, that everybody is anti-Semitic, that there is no partner, and when I speak against his poor policies he and his government accuse me of collaborating with the enemy."
Livni's comments came just a day after Netanyahu reiterated his stance that Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas was not interested in peace. Abbas met with Hamas leaders in Cairo earlier this week to discuss reconciliation, which Netanyahu said was evidence that he is not a serious peace partner.
Livni, when she was foreign minister, was instrumental in getting the Quartet to set three conditions for engagement with Hamas: recognition of Israel, forswearing of terrorism and acceptance of previous Israel-Palestinian agreements.
Gil Hoffman contributed to this report