Peres meets with Opposition Leader Yacimovich

Labor chairwoman says that in democracy opposition leader can be more important than prime minister.

Shelly Yacimovich meets with Shimon Peres 370 (photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)
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 agenda.
Yacimovich replied that in a democracy, being the leader of the opposition is sometimes more important than being the prime minister.
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 society.
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.