Former minister Limor Livnat, who served in the Knesset as a member of Likud for over two decades, criticized the party for dissolving parliament, saying it had become a movement dedicated solely to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The 21st Knesset dissolved itself on Wednesday night, just seven weeks after the last elections on April 9. Netanyahu failed to form a majority coalition in the 42 days allotted him and decided to disband parliament rather than risk losing the premiership, setting new elections for September 17.
Livnat, who during her career held various senior positions, including stints as education minister and culture and sports minister, spoke to Kan public radio after the Knesset vote on the dissolution bill sponsored by Likud.
“Likud no longer exists, there is [just] the Netanyahu party,” Livnat charged, and scorned the fresh elections as “peak Israeli politics.”
Earlier this month Dan Meridor and Benny Begin, both former senior ministers and lawmakers for the Likud, also criticized the direction in which Netanyahu has been taking the party.
Livnat announced in December 2014 that she was leaving politics. Two weeks earlier, Livnat, at the time culture and sports minister, had stayed away from a cabinet meeting that approved an initial draft of controversial legislation defining Israel as a Jewish state. The following week she lamented in an Army Radio interview that Likud was “not the Likud of old,” and had shifted to the right.
In 1997, Livnat led an initiative at the Likud Central Committee to oust Netanyahu as party leader. Relations between the two soured but bounced back, and Livnat served as culture and sports minister in the Netanyahu government in 2009 and again in 2013.