Tzipi Livni, No. 2 on the Zionist Union ticket, yesterday accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his political patron, American Jewish multi-billionaire Sheldon Adelson, of destroying Israel’s relationship with the United States.
“The ties between capital, government and [gambling] chips are destroying our vital relationship with the United States and undermining Israel’s security,” Livni told a Ramat Gan conference on the ties between business, government and the media.
Livni also hinted that Adelson, who owns the pro-Netanyahu free newspaper Israel Hayom and is a major donor to the U.S. Republican Party, was involved in organizing Netanyahu’s controversial speech to Congress last night.
“Netanyahu and Adelson conceal the amount of money spent on Israel Hayom’s election propaganda,” she continued. “Adelson is a casino magnate who, with his billions, controls the Republicans in the United States, and here, he controls Netanyahu. And as in a puppet show, he pulls the political strings both there and here.”
“He lives there and controls our lives here. That’s serious,” she added.
After asserting that Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog would form the next government, Livni pledged that his government’s guidelines would include “a new code of ethics for ministers and transparency in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation.”
“With us, there will be no more transfers of public funds to specific sectors, or as political coalition bribes [given] in the dark, under the table,” she said.
“With us, there will be no more transfers of public funds to specific sectors, or as political coalition bribes [given] in the dark, under the table,” she said. Public funds belong to the public, and the public must know what the state is doing with its money.
“We’ll impose transparency on the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, halt coalition funding, bring sunlight into the rooms where decisions are made about public funds and public assets. As justice minister, I pushed through a cabinet decision on transparency in tenders for privatizing public assets [and] standards that lowered the price of freedom of information requests by 80 percent, and in the last government, I also pushed for transparency in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation. The ones who blocked this vital democratic move were Bibi and Lapid,” she added, referring to Netanyahu and his former finance minister, Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid.
She also discussed a bill to stop Israel Hayom from being distributed for free, which passed its preliminary reading in the last Knesset. Livni, who was head of the Hatnuah party and Netanyahu’s justice minister at the time, had worked behind the scenes to promote the bill, and more than a few pundits have suggested that the bill is the real reason why Netanyahu dismantled his coalition and called early elections.
“I spoke with the publisher of Yedioth Ahronoth, Noni Mozes, and received an opinion Yedioth Ahronoth had commissioned,” Livni said yesterday, referring to Israel Hayom’s main rival among the daily papers. “Noni Mozes knows my position, and I know his position.”