As elections draw near, center-left leaders bicker

As elections draw near, center-left leaders bicker

Lapid says he won't join the cabinet as minister without portfolio; Yachimovich: 'I won't join as a giraffe'

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Labor Party chair Shelly Yachimovich (photo credit: Flash90)
Labor Party chair Shelly Yachimovich (photo credit: Flash90)

With only a week to go before elections, leaders of the center-left on Tuesday continued to lash out at one another.

It began with Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, who pledged that he wouldn’t enter Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet — polls predict the the incumbent waltzing back into office — as a minister without portfolio.

Lapid told journalists that he and his list wouldn’t serve as “decoration” in the government. He also argued that ministers without portfolio were “a waste of public funds” and a sign of “moral and social degradation.”

Hatnua head Tzipi Livni was quick to slam the former news anchor and rookie-politician-to-be, saying his statement was proof that he was already “crawling” into a coalition dominated by Orthodox and right-wing elements.

Livni‘s response was “delusional,” Lapid countered on his Facebook page, noting that he hoped someone else had written her condemnation statement, because “she didn’t realize what it said.”

Meanwhile, Labor Party chair Yachimovich joined the fray with the assertion that she “won’t join the cabinet as a giraffe.”

The comment was apparently meant to paint as absurd Lapid’s discussing specific cabinet roles less than a week after he was involved in attempts to form a union with Livni and Yachimovich to counter Netanyahu. Yachimovich has asserted that she won’t join a Netanyahu-led coalition in any capacity.

There are far more important issues than deciding who does what in Netanyahu’s government, Yachimovich said, before letting loose another  dart at Lapid.

“It must have been really difficult to give up the option of being a minister without portfolio,” she said.

Another source of friction was Livni‘s assertion that President Barack Obama’s statement that “Israel doesn’t know what its best interests are” should be a “wake-up call for all Israelis.”

It is time for Israeli and Palestinian leaders to sit down and talk in a frank attempt to reach an agreement, stated the former foreign minister, who’s been basing her campaign on the necessity for a two-state solution to the conflict.

But Livni‘s statements were merely “empty platitudes,” retorted Yachimovich, who’s been stressing domestic issues and the economy in her campaign. “Livni‘s political career is rife with missed opportunities, and at the moment her contribution to the peace process isn’t only nil — it’s counterproductive.”

It didn’t end there, however.

Yachimovich was “stressed and hysterical” in her bid to head the opposition after the election, Livni rejoined, snarkily opining that the Labor leader should leave the diplomatic arena to people with experience.

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