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Livni Calls on Yacimovich, Lapid to Form United Front Against Netanyahu

Hatnuah chairwoman says Israel's centrist parties must unite in order to replace the current government; Labor's Yacimovich heeds Livni's call, says ready to meet as soon as Saturday.

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Hatnuah chairwoman Tzipi Livni on Friday called on Israel's centrist parties to come together and form a united front against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud-Beiteinu.

During an appearance on Israel's Channel 2, the former foreign minister issued a public call to Labor chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich and Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid for an urgent meeting to discuss uniting Israel's centrist bloc.

"We can win this battle, we cannot give up," Livni said. "I call on Shelly and Yair, let's unite, let's decide how to win this battle now. We now have more (projected) Knesset seats than Likud-Beiteinu."

Livni said that such a meeting, with the two other leaders of center-left parties, must take place as soon as Saturday.

"There are three parties that share their beliefs in one central issue: we believe that the government that will be established will lead to the downfall of the state of Israel," Livni added. "This is our goal – to replace the current government, and it's important that the public will know that it is voting for a group that is sticking together."

She emphasized that her goal is not to unite the parties into one, but to rather work together toward a common goal and win the elections.

Only moments after Livni spoke and issued her request, Labor's Yacimovich heeded her call and said she will be willing to meet with Livni on Saturday.

Likud-Beiteinu commented on Livni's statements, saying that it is "obvious that the left is trying to unite in order to topple Netanyahu."

"There is a need for a strong force against the left that would maintain the security of Israel and protect the vital interests of the state of Israel."

On Thursday, Yacimovich declared that she would not join a coalition government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud-Beiteinu, preferring to serve as the leader of the next Knesset opposition.

The party released an official statement declaring: "The Labor Party is determined to change the regime, and will make every effort to lead a coalition that provides an alternative to the extreme right-wing government and show the Israeli public that there is another option."

Hatnuah chairwoman Tzipi Livni gestures during a news conference in Tel Aviv November 27, 2012.Credit: Reuters

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