Livni to Netanyahu: When Was the Last Time You Told the Truth?

Opposition leader rips into the prime minister at a boisterous session of the Knesset, saying he's weak and at fault for the country's weakness.

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, questioning the prime minister's honesty and harshly criticizing the government's diplomatic policies, calling its record "embarrassing."

Speaking at a Knesset session dealing with Israel's diplomatic efforts, Livni asked: "When was the last time you told the truth to yourself, your ministers, the voting public?"

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni speaking at the Knesset
Michal Fattal

Netanyahu had lashed out at Livni in his address beforehand, criticizing her for using her mobile phone while he spoke at the podium. In her remarks that followed, Livni responded to his barb, saying he was "nervous and weak, and if I had read out loud the text messages I received, you would have been humiliated."

"There was a distinguished leader who said that he doesn't know whether to believe your right hand or your left," Livni said, referencing former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

"Yesterday we saw an example of this," Livni continued. "The publication of a single sentence, among other things you said behind closed doors, about territorial exchange. You are the only person I know that is interpreted in completely opposite ways on either side of [the political spectrum]."

According to Livni, today Israel is weaker than ever, and the proof of this is that during the previous Kadima-led government, "we heard these things [publicized on the website WikiLeaks] directly from those governments; but with you, they refuse to talk."

Commenting on reports that leaked cables quote the leaders of Arab states calling for a military attack on Iran, Livni said that it seemed that Netanyahu "was almost happy that it came out," hoping that it would relieve him of having to fulfill one of his basic obligations, to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

According to Livni, the Prime Minister does not understand that this is "a singular opportunity that will allow the Arab states to support an arrangement that ends the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

The Kadima leader blamed Netanyahu for "playing with the hopes of [Israel's] youth. If you know that you will divide this country, how can you send a young couple to a place that you know they will have to leave? How can you look at them in the eyes?"