Shelly Yacimovich meets with Shimon Peres 370.
(photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)
Labor chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich met with President Shimon Peres on Sunday in
her new capacity as leader of the opposition.
It was their first meeting
since Yacimovich’s parliamentary upgrade. In congratulating her, Peres noted
that opposition is a crucial component of democracy, in that its task is to
monitor the administration and to propose alternatives to policies proposed by
the government with regard to cardinal issues on the national
Yacimovich replied that in a democracy, being the leader of the
opposition is sometimes more important than being the prime
Yacimovich said that she had planned to be opposition leader
after the planned early election, but when it was canceled, she took on her new
role within two days.
She said that she and her party were ready to
tackle the question of the state budget, which requires radical examination and
revision to reduce the social gap. Among her key targets, Yacimovich told Peres,
was to secure a greater investment in education. She indicated in her working
meeting with the president that Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz will find her to
be a tough opponent, especially when she presents an alternative budget aimed at
correcting social injustice and giving hope to the weaker sectors of
While social justice is at the top of Yacimovich’s political
totem pole, it is not there to the exclusion of national security issues such as
Iran’s nuclear program that Yacimovich also discussed with Peres, but with not
quite the same fervor as she spoke about social justice or the imperative to
renew the peace process with the Palestinians.
In relation to Iran,
Yacimovich said that Israel should keep a close watch on developments but should
allow the United States and other big powers to lead the campaign against a
nuclear Iran. Peres and Yacimovich agreed that it was essential for Israel to
maintain its peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan.