Yechimovich goes out fighting as opposition leader

Labor leader says everything Netanyahu does is for his own political survival, asserts November 27 is best election date.

Labor leader Shelly Yechimovich 370 (R) (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Labor leader Shelly Yechimovich 370 (R)
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Labor chairwoman Shelly Yechimovich used her last day as opposition leader on Wednesday to settle scores with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Kadima head Shaul Mofaz, who will inherit her title when his resignation from the cabinet takes effect at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Yechimovich will pass on to Mofaz the perks entitled to the opposition leader, some of which she refused to accept, such as a fancy car, and others which she fought against, like the constant accompaniment of bodyguards.
Diplomatic protocol will now require visiting dignitaries to meet with Mofaz, but Russian President Vladimir Putin, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other key international visitors found ways to avoid meeting with Yechimovich.
A bill presented by Labor MK Isaac Herzog to dissolve the Knesset was voted down by a 53-27 vote Wednesday afternoon, following a fiery speech by Yechimovich calling for new elections and blasting the short-lived national-unity government.
“We are at the end of a political circus that unfortunately lasted more than two months,” Yechimovich said.
“It brought shame to the entire political system. This was a new low in political opportunism and spin. It was pathetic to the point of amusement but more than that it was dangerous, because it could make the public lose its faith in politics.”
Yechimovich called on the prime minister to disperse the Knesset before its three-month summer recess begins Wednesday. She recommended a November 27 election date, but acknowledged that Netanyahu would not take her advice.
“Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has a vision,” she said mockingly. “That vision is called Binyamin Netanyahu. After he was declared King Bibi [by Time magazine], we see he cares about his political survival at any price, not about any vision or path on civil, diplomatic or socioeconomic issues. He doesn’t care about the citizens – only about citizen Netanyahu.”
“How can we trust someone like that?” Yechimovich asked.
Disputing assessments that Netanyahu will inevitably win the next election, she said he “is a strong politician but he is a politician and politicians rise and fall.”
Yechimovich also predicted Kadima’s disappearance from the political map after the next election, which she said would be fought between Likud and Labor.
A Kadima spokesman responded that Yechimovich had taken Labor to the “post- Zionist Left” and that she never represented the “sane political Center.” The spokesman also said Yechimovich had made no effort to help equalize the burden of IDF service.
“Yechimovich is empty of content,” the spokesman said. “She has never accomplished anything or run anything.
Kadima by contrast is more relevant than ever, and as the largest party, represents the views of most of the Zionist public.”