Hours after Hatnua leader Tzipi Livni called on her to join the emergent coalition headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in order to create “an entirely different government,” Labor party head Shelly Yachimovich said she would prefer to serve as head of the opposition, reiterating that it was a matter of “opposite paths, not ministries.”
Yachimovich wrote on her Facebook page that despite the “mounting pressure,” her party would stand firm in its decision not to join the coalition.
“It’s not personal,” wrote Yachimovich. “It’s because our path does not meet… Netanyahu’s.”
Yachimovich went on to supply several examples proving, she claimed, that Netanyahu’s path and that of her party could never meet.
First, she listed Netanyahu’s impending budget cuts, which she said were “not necessary, unlike we were told, but just the opposite — they destroy the country, corrode the basic services and move them out of the reach of those in need.”
She then mentioned the tax cuts Netanyahu had granted certain corporations and the high salaries paid to corporate managers, saying “Netanyahu is doing everything to make sure the largest and richest corporations don’t pay taxes; we say the opposite.” Netanyahu, she said, believes in “making the load on the backs of the poor and the middle class heavier,” while she and her party believe that the middle class, an “engine for growth,” must be nurtured for the country’s benefit.
Lastly, Yachimovich wrote that Netanyahu would like to “put on a show” of negotiations with the Palestinians in honor of US President Barack Obama’s visit, only to put the talks back on deep freeze and revert to isolationism as soon as the visit is over.
Yachimovich’s goal for her and her Labor colleagues, on the other hand, is to “be the initiators and catalysts of political moves geared toward peace.” She said the support and appreciation of the international community would be an “added bonus” which would also improve Israel’s financial situation.
Netanyahu’s Likud-Beytenu (31 seats) has so far signed up only Livni’s Hatnua (6 seats) to a coalition. He has another week to try to win a governing majority, but can then ask President Shimon Peres for a two-week extension, taking him to mid-March.