Yacimovich Welcomes Livni's Call for United Centrist Front

The Labor leader reiterated Saturday that she will not join a government led by Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman, the chairman of Yisrael Beiteinu.

Ilan Lior
Revital Hovel
Jonathan Lis
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Yacimovich said on Saturday that she was willing to discuss Hatnuah chairwoman Tzipi Livni's call on Friday for a centrist front against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud-Beiteinu.

"I was very happy to hear Livni's statement," Yacimovich said on Saturday night at a campaign event at Tel Aviv's Habima Theater, adding that she would "do everything" to effect a meeting with Livni for this purpose.

Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid said that while he was willing to meet with Yacimovich and Livni he did not want to join the center-left bloc that Livni envisioned. Rather, Lapid suggested that Labor and Hatnuah should join the coalition that Netanyahu is widely expected to be asked to form after the January 22 election, in order to prevent the creation of an extreme right-wing coalition.

In the past several weeks Lapid appeared to be weighing joining forces with the other center-left parties, but a posting to his Facebook wall dashed all ideas of that. "I told them I would be happy to meet, just as I am happy to meet with political leaders from the right and from the left," Lapid wrote, adding that he did not "usually boycott people or parties."

Yacimovich reiterated Saturday that she will not join a government led by Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman, the chairman of Yisrael Beiteinu. She said that her announcement to that effect on Thursday had "created very positive waves on the ground and awakened the elections. I hope it made the centrist parties realize that replacing Netanyahu is a possibility, especially in light of Likud-Beiteinu's extreme weakness."

Livni said Saturday: "Anyone who recognizes the gravity of the moment should join and unite around the initiative I presented, in order to replace Netanyahu." She expressed hope that Lapid would join in, adding, "When people see me, Shelly, Yair, [Kadima chairman Shaul] Mofaz and anyone who realizes these are difficult times ... everyone who has despaired and given up will go out and vote."

"It is not written in the stars that Netanyahu will be prime minister," Livni said. "These are time of trouble for Israel and we must unite against the Likud-Beiteinu's alliance of extremists, the ultra-Orthodox and Habayit Hayehudi an alliance that prefers a Greater Israel over a Jewish state and Halakha [Jewish religious law] over the law."

Mofaz also welcomed the move toward unity in the center-left. "I am in favor of a strong and large union to replace this right-wing government," he said Saturday, adding, "It would have been better had the union come before the parties registered with the Central Elections Committee, but it is still not too late.

Labor chair Shelly Yacimovich and Hatnuah chair Tzipi Livni last year. Credit: Nir Kafri