Tzipi Livni Named Opposition Leader After Herzog's Departure

Zionist Union Avi Gabbay and Livni agree the two would run jointly in the next election

Avi Gabbay and Tzipi Livni at a Zionist Union meeting in October, 2017.
אמיל סלמן

Zionist Union leader Avi Gabbay and Tzipi Livni announced Monday they have agreed for her to be appointed head of the opposition. Livni will take the seat in the stead of Isaac Herzog, who has been named Jewish Agency chief.

The Zionist Union is an alliance between Labor Party, headed by Gabbay, and Hatnua, led by Livni. As part of the deal, Livni promised to run jointly with Gabay in the next elections, though the terms of their alliance remain in murk. Gabbay cannot serve as opposition leader since he is not a lawmaker.

Livni and Gabbay stated that their aim is to beef up the Zionist Union so it can replace Likud in government. The two will be holding a joint press conference later Monday.

"We are making a significant step today in building an alternative to the incumbent government, a camp that can constitute a new  hope for the people of Israel," Gabay said in a statement. He added that Livni brings "a wealth of experience, especially on security and diplomatic matters."

One alternative had been for lawmaker Shelly Yacimovich (Labor) to become head of opposition, but she did not want the job. Gabay said that Yacimovich opted to remain chairwoman of the State Control Committee. Yacimovich had led the Labor Party between 2011 and 2013.

Yacimovich said that Livni would be an "excellent" opposition leader and wished her every success. She called on voters to stand behind Gabay and focus on creating an alternative to the extremist right-wing government.