Hopes for a center-left bloc collapse as party leaders trade recriminations

Labor and Yesh Atid party chiefs accuse Hatnua’s Tzipi Livni of lying about outcome of failed three-way unification meeting

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Head of the Hatnua party Tzipi Livni, January 2013 (photo credit: Tsafrir Abayov/Flash90)
Head of the Hatnua party Tzipi Livni, January 2013 (photo credit: Tsafrir Abayov/Flash90)

The chances of the three leading center-left parties uniting behind a joint election strategy appeared to be scuttled on Monday after their leaders bitterly lashed out at each other.

The fracas erupted between Labor Party leader Shelly Yachimovich and Yesh Atid party’s Yair Lapid in one corner, and Hatnua party leader Tzipi Livni in the other, following conflicting reports on what happened during a Sunday night meeting aimed at unifying the three.

Initial reports said the trio, who met to find ways of countering the poll-predicted election victory of Likud-Beytenu and other right-wing parties, parted on good terms but without an agreement.

Shelly Yachimovich, head of the Israel Labor. (photo credit: Flash 90)
Shelly Yachimovich, head of the Labor Party (photo credit: Flash90)

Livni’s party, however, later released statements suggesting that the three parties were heading toward offering the public an alternative to voting for the right, a claim Labor and Yesh Atid denied. Lapid and Yachimovich then came out swinging in a joint statement that accused Livni of lying about the outcome of the meeting.

“In contrast to the agreements before and after the meeting last night, Tzipi Livni chose to present a deceitful version of what happened at the meeting,” the statement said. “We came to the meeting with mutual respect for each other, even though we have many ideological differences. We were amazed to discover that it was nothing more than spin, with not an ounce of truth or content.”

Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party. (photo credit Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Livni punched back that the Labor-Yesh Atid statement was too extreme and accused Lapid and Yachimovich of conspiring against her.

“The two of them coordinated their positions before and after the meeting to prevent the disturbing truth from coming out,” she said. “They are playing a game of personal interests instead of agreeing to the one plan that can offer hope for the public.”

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