livni - Emil Salman - August 3 2011
Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni, August 3, 2011. Photo by Emil Salman
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Opposition Leader MK Tzipi Livni criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a meeting of the Kadima Party on Friday morning for not responding to the substance of the cost of living protests that have engulfed the country over the last three weeks.

"Benjamin Netanyahu does not concern himself with changing national priorities, but with how to reduce the scope of protests, that is all he cares about," said Livni at the Friday morning meeting. "We suggested the prime minister reopens the 2012 budget in order to create a new budget, but Netanyahu refuses to do so."

Livni also said it is mandatory to change the way that governments get replaced in office. "Governments who are led by a person that does not work for the good of the majority, but spends all their money on small segments of society – they generate complete distrust for the system," she said.

The Opposition Leader continued to strongly criticize the government, saying that it represents "the worst aspect of [the crisis]. It enlarged the budget in order to pay for itself. Having a home recedes into the horizon, children consider living their lives in other countries, and this government is bloated."

Livni took advantage of the opportunity to also attack the prime minister for his security policies. "Security and economy are connected. The protesters took to the streets because the country's economic situation is good and the social situation is bad, and as the security situation worsens it will affect the economic situation," she said.

However, Livni insisted that although "there is blatant distrust in the political system, politics is the platform by which change must be made and problems must be solved."

Kadima MK Shaul Mofaz also spoke at the conference and heavily criticized the prime minister. Acoording to Mofaz, Netanyahu "failed to understand the protests, he did not understand their size and presented them with the wrong solutions."

"The prime minister is actively working to turn the youth into an at-risk population. Regretfully, he is succeeding," said Mofaz.

Protest leaders plan a massive rally in Tel Aviv Saturday night, hoping to top the 150,000 who came out nationwide a week earlier. It will be the third Saturday night in a row of mass protests, under the slogan "the government has abandoned the people."

Representatives of the protest camps assembled for the third time on Friday in order to discuss the continuation of their struggle. The representatives met to decide upon central themes for the protests planned for Saturday night.

The protest leaders decided that the demonstrations will focus on two main themes: the demand for social justice and the demand for a welfare state, "the fair division of resources".

Some of the tent camp representatives contended that the movement should come right out in direct opposition to the government and the prime minister. Some representatives stressed that the significance of the call for social justice should be clarified, in order to improve their chances of success in negotiations with the government, when and if they occur.