Livni Refuses to Sign Letter Calling for Prisoner Release in Exchange for Shalit

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni, along with four other Knesset members, meet with Shalit family and lobbyists; of five, only one MK signs.

Five Knesset members, among them opposition leader Tzipi Livni (Kadima), met with the family of abducted soldier Gilad Shalit on Wednesday. However, four of the five refused to sign a letter written by the Shalit family and the caucus for the abducted soldier calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to release prisoners in exchange for Shalit.

Livni, MK Yariv Levin (Likud), MK Roni Bar-On (Kadima) and MK Zeev Elkin (Likud) all refused to sign the letter, while MK Meir Shitrit (Likud) agreed to sign.

Tzipi Livni and Aviva Shalit.
Dror Arazi

Members of the Shalit camp did not hesitate to show their disappointment in the outcome of the first day of their campaign to get MKs’ endorsement for their letter detailing a deal to possibly secure the soldier’s return. However, most of the MK’s that they met with on Wednesday were known to oppose the deal or were undecided.

The Shalit caucus added that when MKs refused to sign the letter, they were asked if they had an alternate idea for how to bring Shalit back. None were able to come up with a new or practical suggestion.

“We are so distressed that after five years, there are still MKs that are opposed to this type of process,” members of the Shalit camp said.

In the coming days the Shalit caucus will meet with additional MKs in a bid to receive more support for a potential deal for the abducted soldier’s release. They are hoping other politicians will joing the caucus that already includes Shaul Mofaz (Kadima), Miri Regev (Likud) and Eitan Cabel (Labor).

Kadima responded to the Shalit camp’s efforts, saying “as a rule, Livni does not sign petitions and protest letters. As far as the subject of Gilad Shalit goes, Livni already said in the past that on principle as well as due to the seriousness and sensitivity of the matter, she refrains from publicly expressing her views on the deal or making it seem like a political issue.”