Livni: Gov't full of nothing-ministers

New opposition leader attacks Netanyahu's new coalition; Olmert bids farewell to public life.

olmert knesset 248 88 (photo credit: Channel 2)
olmert knesset 248 88
(photo credit: Channel 2)
In her first speech as opposition leader, Kadima chief Tzipi Livni harshly lashed out at incoming Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his new government. She accused his coalition of being a "bloated government, full of ministers with nothing portfolios," which would create a financial burden on the public during these testing times, contrary to Netanyahu's own agenda of keeping the public sector small, as he had professed in the past. She also criticized the move to give the public security portfolio to Israel Beiteinu, while its leader Avigdor Lieberman was still under police interrogation. "Netanyahu has fulfilled none of his promises to the public," she added. Earlier during the session, Ehud Olmert made his final comments as prime minister, a post he was leaving "earlier than [he] had hoped," yet at the same time "without any bitterness... or anger," but rather with a sense of gratitude for the privilege of leading the state of Israel. In his speech, Olmert spoke of his government's security achievements, insisting that the long-term results of Israel's 2006 campaign in Lebanon will prove it justified and more importantly, successful. Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip, Olmert continued, was "inevitable after Hamas broke the virtual truce." "Let me say it here - the IDF is the most moral army in the world," Olmert said, noting the various means deployed warning Gaza non-combatants during Cast Lead. Speaking of abducted IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, his mother Aviva listening to the speech from her seat in the Knesset visitor's section, Olmert said that he did everything he could to bring him back home. The former prime minister mentioned the diplomatic efforts which lead to indirect talks with Syria and garnered the world's support to Israel's security needs. Olmert also noted his government's achievements in protecting the weaker parts of Israeli society in face of the economic crisis, and spoke of the importance he attributed to the younger generation. "A field I gave top priority to was education and nurturing the young generation. Education is the basis for the social, economic and ethical future of the state of Israel," he said. "I'm proud of my achievements, and regret my mistakes... I did it my way, to quote the song," Olmert wrapped up, wishing Netanyahu all the success he had wished himself upon entering the position.