Shelly Yacimovich at the President's residence 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich’s first official day as opposition leader was
characteristic of her last tenure in the post: It was marked by a high-profile
snub from a top visiting foreign dignitary.
As a result of its extended
Passover recess, the Knesset only formally approved Yacimovich as opposition
leader on Tuesday. But she has been functioning in that role since the
government was formed March 18.
In what is seen as a breach of diplomatic
protocol, however, US Secretary of State John Kerry did not find time in his visit to Israel that ended Tuesday to meet with Yacimovich and hear the perspective of the
opposition and the peace
Kerry did meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu twice in the
most recent visit. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud), Justice Minister
Tzipi Livni (Hatnua) and International Relations Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud)
were present for one of the meetings.
Although Kerry came to Israel on
two other occasions in the last three weeks, he did not meet with Yacimovich
during those visits, either.
Yacimovich has returned to a post she
briefly held last summer when Kadima was part of Netanyahu’s
That first stint as opposition leader was marked by multiple
snubs from top world figures, including Kerry’s predecessor Hillary Clinton,
Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Republican presidential candidate Mitt
Romney, who cancelled on her at the last minute.
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In his visit to Israel,
US President Barack Obama did not hold a formal meeting with her, but spoke to
her briefly at the President’s Residence.
When Putin and Clinton snubbed
her, Labor MKs blamed her for lacking a diplomatic agenda and an international
presence. They blamed Netanyahu for Romney’s cancellation.
three Labor MKs expressed frustration but declined to comment
American officials noted Kerry’s tight schedule and expressed
confidence that he would meet with Yacimovich and other key Israeli figures
during the frequent visits he intends to make to the region.
spokeswoman said it was absurd to summarize the tenure of Yacimovich after one day and that she would have all the necessary meetings and more in her post.
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