Livni close up 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file[)
With a new array of ministerial positions open following the resignations of
three Labor ministers, Kadima received news of the Labor split Monday with mixed
Slightly less than a year after Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu’s explosive attempt to split Kadima by offering up a bouquet of
ministries to would-be rebels, memories of that near-split were fresh in the
minds of Kadima’s leadership.
Herzog, Braverman, Ben-Eliezer resign from government
As early as the explosive House Committee
meeting that began minutes after Defense Minister Ehud Barak completed his
dramatic announcement, Kadima MKs who sought to criticize the split were forced
to confront their Likud counterparts’ reminders of yet another split, when Ariel
Sharon formed Kadima in 2005.
Kadima MKs responded to the charge of
hypocrisy by arguing that Sharon’s split was on ideological grounds, while
Barak’s stemmed from personal motivations.
Responding later in the day to
the turmoil, Kadima leader Tzipi Livni said that “rivalry within Kadima was
crumbling” as the party grew stronger.
“If in the past we saw ideological
splits to advance the peace process – and that was how Kadima was formed –
today, the split is one of last-resort, fleeing from making ideological
decisions,” she said, referring to Barak’s move.
“Here, the division was
done by those who are lacking any ideological backbone. We will not allow – and
the public will not allow – political wheeling and dealing to win,” she
“We learned something else.
Those who want to split
[others], were split. Those who wanted to destroy, were destroyed. And all of
those things have one shared camp, and it is called Binyamin Netanyahu and he is
– for the time being – prime minister of Israel,” continued Livni in a reference
to last February’s attempt by Netanyahu to split Kadima along lines of Livni
supporters and supporters of MK Shaul Mofaz.
“Instead of advancing the
good of Israel for its citizens, he is dealing with his own political survival,”
Addressing her party’s Knesset faction, Livni said that “this
is a bad day for the Netanyahu government but I believe it’s a hopeful day for
She also reiterated her calls for elections, promising that
Kadima “will continue to work according to our principles, our values, and we
will guard and advance our vision, defend democracy and the Israeli public from
this awful government.
This government today needs to return the choice
to the people and initiate new elections. This time we will not only win the
elections, but we will also lead the next government.”
Livni at the faction meeting, faction chairwoman Dalia Itzik reflected upon her
own departure from the Labor Party, together with former MK Haim Ramon and
Shimon Peres when Kadima was established. She also admitted that she had worked
hard to bring Kadima in to the current coalition during the government’s first
year, while slamming the attempt in late 2009 and early 2010 to split
Kadima MK Yohanan Plessner described Monday’s as “a sad day – a
day which brought the end of a party that established the State of Israel – and
a day in which the political culture in Israel reached a new low of filth and
“It is now clear that the only legacy of the Netanyahu
government is of political dealing and buying fragments of parties at the
expense of the national interest,” he said, also in a reference to Netanyahu’s
attempt last year to split Kadima.
Other Kadima MKs seemed to try to
outdo each other in their criticism of Netanyahu and Barak, with Orit Zuaretz
calling the Labor movement “naked, spineless mollusks.”
Schneller, one of the MKs who last February seemed likely to leave Kadima for
the government, received Monday’s news with concern, amid reports that some of
the eight remaining Labor MKs might join Kadima. “Swallowing the remains of the
Labor Party will finally place us as a clearly left-wing party,” warned the MK
who represents Kadima’s right flank. “We must continue to see the centrist way
as a concept that differentiates between us and the other
Kadima MK Shai Hermesh, another former Labor Party member, said
that, “the house has crashed; the Kibbutz Movement finds itself on the
Barak, he said, “will be remembered for generations as somebody
who abandoned the people who brought them the throne.
“Labor is are
splitting off and proving that they are only opportunists who aren’t interested
in advancing diplomacy and peace processes if it means giving up their positions
and salaries in exchange for principles and values.”