Livni 311 AP.
(photo credit: AP)
Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni slammed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Friday,
accusing him of poor leadership, but still leaving the door open for her Kadima
party to slide into a reshuffled coalition.
Although Netanyahu’s office
issued a forceful denial late Thursday of reports that Kadima could join the
government, a hint made during last week’s Likud faction meeting renewed rumors
of negotiations between Israel’s two largest parties that have yet to be
Speaking at the annual Farmer’s Association Conference on
Friday, Livni complained that “there is no leadership today in Israel. There is
no leadership that speaks of values and looks at things from a moral place. The
government of Israel is busy with trying to get along with everyone and to avoid
making decisions. It is the winkand- nod system and it cannot continue. It is
impossible to keep all of the balls in the air all the time as the prime
minister does. In such a situation, ultimately, a ball – and not necessarily the
right one – will fall on all of our heads.”
Livni warned that “if the
State of Israel will not take her fate into her own hands, others will decide
for us,” adding that “the central interest of Israel is to reach an agreement in
order to maintain Israel as the national home of the Jewish people.
time that is passing harms Israel’s interests,” she said. “Every plan that we do
not initiate will be worse for Israel than any plan that we could initiate.
Anyone who doesn’t decide, and hopes that something will work out in the future,
will bring about a state in which others will decide for us, and we will find
ourselves in a situation that will not allow us to advance the Zionist
The Kadima chairwoman also slammed Netanyahu’s unwillingness to
comply with the American request that Israel impose an additional two-month
building freeze in Jewish communities in the West Bank, accusing Netanyahu of
choosing coalition politics over “the strategic relationship with the United
Livni did not restrict her criticism of what she characterized
as Netanyahu’s hesitance to make decisions on diplomatic issues. Israelis, she
said, should be “worried” by the fact that “there is a group here whose children
serve in the army, pay taxes and work, and it is growing smaller...
state is turning into a collection of groups that have practically no connection
among them. It is not clear to any of the groups what the elements are of Israel
as a Jewish and democratic state, and the time has come to define
She also issued a condemnation of the recent incident in which
89-year-old Safed resident Eli Tzvielli received threats on his life for
agreeing to rent an apartment to Arab students.
Livni emphasized that she
believed that the alternative to the current situation was “to establish a
completely different government, a government of Likud and Kadima, a government
that internally and externally does the right thing, without a monopoly that
allows the haredi parties to impose their agenda on everything Jewish in Israel,
a government that will continue the negotiations,” which she said she had
proposed in the past to Netanyahu.
Netanyahu, she said, had “chosen
otherwise,” but she did not rule out the possibility that his choice could be
Livni’s reference to a national unity government came after
a week of rumors, stemming from a Monday Likud faction meeting during which
Netanyahu hinted that there could be changes soon in the leadership of key
Netanyahu may have been referring to the upcoming
court decision regarding Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman MK Tzahi
Hanegbi (Kadima). This week, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court is expected to
determine if Hanegbi acted with criminal intent in issuing false testimony about
a 2002 campaign flyer – if so, it would signal the end of Hanegbi’s Knesset
term. Hanegbi is widely believed to be the go-to man for negotiations between
Kadima and Likud.
In the mean time, Netanyahu’s office published a
laconic denial Thursday evening that any representatives of the government,
either official or otherwise, were currently engaging in negotiations with the
lead opposition party.