Tzipi Livni, the former leader of the Kadima party, informed the speaker of the Knesset on Tuesday of her resignation from parliament, which is regrettable. There is no great abundance of figures on the Israeli political scene who demonstrate loyalty to their principles. Livni was such a person.
Let us hope that, as she stated, this is not the end of her public service. Livni is quitting after her bitter rival, Shaul Mofaz, beat her in the Kadima leadership primary. One can understand how she feels. She didn't hide her negative opinion of the man now heading the party. In doing so, she opted for a principled stand and demonstrated her integrity.
The last time she did this, by opposing the prospect of Kadima joining Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition of right-wing and religious parties, she became the butt of sharp - and unjustified - criticism. One can only hope that the reactions to her resignation will be different.
She managed to turn Kadima into the largest party in Israel, but didn't manage to make it into a vigorous and fighting opposition. She herself was an utter failure in the critical post of leader of the official opposition in Israel. In the process, she created a situation in which the political scene was bereft of a serious and meaningful alternative to the government. And for this, among other things, she was punished by being defeated by Mofaz.
Livni is deeply believes in the possibility of coming to a peace agreement with the Palestinians. In this respect, too, she became a rare breed in these parts. Not many other Israeli politicians share her faith. Now her job is not to forsake the main cause for which she has been the standard-bearer. One must hope that she finds an appropriate framework in which to continue her fight to reach such an agreement, despite the prevailing loss of faith in a peace accord.
For the moment at least, it appears that the approaching elections will not bring about a substantial change in the face of Israeli politics, which will continue to march in place, missing critical opportunities and wasting valuable time. Under such circumstances, Livni's continued presence is as essential as ever. Even if she has resigned from the current Knesset, she should continue to play a significant public role, whether in the next Knesset or in some other framework, whether through Kadima or through another party. Today the time has come to bid Livni good-bye and - yes - see you later.
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