Tzipi Livni addresses a faction meeting, November 12th, 2018.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Leading opposition MKs came out against the government’s handling of the conflict with Hamas in the Knesset Monday, the day after the clash in southern Gaza that took the life of an IDF officer, as well as seven Hamas members.
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) sent condolences to the family of M, the IDF officer killed in action, but still criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a Zionist Union faction meeting.
“While fully backing the IDF, we have a strategic dispute with the government on the ways to attain long-term quiet from Gaza and Judea and Samaria,” she stated.
Livni said Netanyahu was right to compare Hamas to ISIS in comments he made Sunday, but was wrong in his response to Hamas.
“Instead of accepting the situation, we must act, but differently. Paying Hamas suitcases of cash”
– sent from Qatar – “is an opening for future blackmail that leaves the residents of the Gaza border area in a fragile situation, dependent on Hamas’s will,” Livni stated.
Zionist Union faction chairman Yoel Hasson defended the criticism of the government at this time: “Statesmanship does not mean censorship. There is criticism that needs to be stated immediately.”
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid did not come out against the government outright, but he had some suggestions: “What needs to be done better is taking care of the residents of the Gaza border area. If children need to stay home because there is no school, at least one parent should be compensated for the lost day of work... Mental health centers also need backup in emergency situations... Whoever needs care, should be able to get it.”
Lapid said the government should balance “a lot of force against Hamas with economic stimuli that will lead the population to stabilize... and demand quiet.”
At the same time, Lapid said he fully backs the IDF, and supports the government in this matter, because “complications” could happen at any time.
All opposition parties pulled their no-confidence motions from the Knesset agenda on Monday.
Some in the opposition faced criticism for comments that could give away censored details about the slain officer.
Zionist Union MK Shelly Yacimovich tweeted a photo of him and his two children, with their faces blurred, and wrote that his death “shows in an even more horrible way how the racist and detestable Nation-State Law makes citizens like M, who are not Jewish, second-class citizens.”
The Nation-State Law says that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people and reinforces existing laws, such as the right of return and that Jewish holidays are national days off work. It does not impinge on individual rights of citizens regardless of ethnic background or religion.
However, the law has been called discriminatory by some in the Druze community, whose men serve in the IDF, often in combat roles.
Livni referred to the need for coexistence in her remarks to the Zionist Union faction, and also said “they risk their lives for our country.”
Yacimovich responded to the criticism of her remarks, saying: “My post does not go against the censor and it does not reveal the identity of the officer in any way. The fact that soldiers who are not Jewish serve in all special combat units is known and public and not a secret, even if it makes someone uncomfortable in this context.”
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