Livni undecided between Mitzna and Peretz

Tension palpable between Mitzna and Peretz at faction meeting as holder of portfolio likely to be Environmental Protection Ministry remains up in air.

Livni Party faction meeting 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Livni Party faction meeting 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
MK Tzipi Livni is undecided about whether to give her party’s second portfolio in the cabinet Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is building to MK Amram Mitzna or to MK Amir Peretz, sources close to Livni said on Wednesday.
The sources said that on one hand, Mitzna was second on the candidates list of The Tzipi Livni Party and Peretz third, but on the other, Peretz gave up the third slot in Labor and had experience as a minister that Mitzna lacked.
The portfolio is expected to be the Environmental Protection Ministry, a field in which neither candidate has experience. The other candidate will receive an as yet unknown Knesset committee chairmanship.
The tension was palpable between Peretz and Mitzna at a meeting of their faction at the Knesset on Wednesday.
Before the meeting officially began, Peretz informed Livni Party faction chairman Meir Sheetrit that it was Mitzna’s 68th birthday.
“Well, at least he’ll get a cake,” Sheetrit joked in reference to the ministerial issue, though, in reality, he did not hear about the birthday early enough to order refreshments.
Soon after, Mitzna entered the faction room, and ignored Peretz’s outstretched hand when he approached to say happy birthday, only answering “yes” laconically.
Livni told the faction that her criticism of Netanyahu from the last government still stood.
“This time, it’s different, because Netanyahu put us in [the coalition] first,” she explained. “The question of what the government will look like is still open. It’s not a matter of portfolios or jobs, it’s the ability to influence the government’s decisions.”
She added that her holding the Justice portfolio would allow her party to promote its worldview and prevent extremism.
Former minister Haim Ramon, who helped Livni found the party, said he was disappointed in Livni just as he was in the past when Shaul Mofaz led Kadima and Ehud Barak led Labor into governments led by Netanyahu.
“I pray Livni can change Bibi [Netanyahu], but I don’t believe she can,” Ramon said.