Tzippi Livni 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu does not meet with her as frequently as he
should, opposition leader Tzipi Livni said on Sunday.
She said she
couldn’t remember when they last sat down to discuss matters of national
According to an amendment to the Knesset Law passed in July
2000, the prime minister is supposed to update the leader of the opposition at
least once a month. According to Livni, the prime minister has not acted in
accordance with the law.
She was speaking on Sunday evening at the fifth
annual Herzliya Conference for Influential Women that was discussing the “new
Middle East” and its effect on the State of Israel.
Livni did not make a
speech but held a Q&A session with moderator Dana Weiss, a usually hard
hitting television interviewer who took a less aggressive tone with
The event, in line with International Women’s Day, which this year
coincides with Purim, was part of a month-long series of events for women
organized by the Women’s Administration of the Herzliya Municipality, which is
one of the few municipalities in the country headed by a woman.
on a Meretz ticket, Yael German was elected mayor in 1998, and is the first
female to hold this position in Herzliya.
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She was also the first mayor of
any municipality to set up a division dealing with women’s issues and providing
cultural activities for women of all ages.
Livni declined to answer a
question as to whether Kadima under her leadership would be a loyal opposition
in the event that Netanyahu would decide to launch a strike on Iran’s nuclear
facilities. All that she was prepared to say was that Kadima would act in
Israel’s best interests. Nor would she would comment on Kadima’s views on a
military option, saying that the subject was too sensitive to be aired in
public, and that if she had anything to say, she would say it to the prime
There was one male speaker at the conference – British
Ambassador Matthew Gould. He spoke first about events in the region, with
particular emphasis on Iran, and then about the place of women in
Reviewing the after effects of the Arab Spring, Gould was
cautiously optimistic, and said that although transition would be uneasy, it
might just be possible for democracy and the will of the people to be effective
and allow for Israel to live on better terms with its neighbors.
Iranian nuclear program threatens not only to Israel but also to the UK, and
Britain attaches “the highest importance to dealing with that threat,” he said.
Gould was adamant that Israel is not facing this threat alone.
cannot be allowed to get nuclear weapons,” he declared, as he advocated for
economic pressure against Iran to be intensified.
institution in the UK is allowed to have dealings with Iran, he said, adding
that the European Union has adopted oil sanctions that are having a serious
impact on Iran’s economy, “which is really suffering.”
There was too much
talk about the military option, said Gould. “We’re not taking that option off
the table, but now is the time to stick with economic sanctions,” he
Leaving no doubts about his belief in equal opportunities and equal
pay for women, Gould commended Israel for what it has achieved towards these
goals, but noted that with all the progress that has been made, women are still
earning only 83 percent of what men earn for doing the same job.
to inequities in his own country, Gould said that both in the British diplomatic
service as well as in the corporate board room, “we are a long way from 50%
being women.” He added that until 1971, women who got married while in the
diplomatic service had to resign.
Gould reflected on how much poorer
Israel would have been if women such as Rivka Carmi (the president of Ben-Gurion
University and a world-renowned geneticist), Livni and Nobel Prize in Chemistry
laureate Ada Yonath had not been able to realize their potential.
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