Livni-Bennett tensions escalate, spill over to Facebook

Hatnua chief publicly yearns for a more dovish coalition, but pro-settlement minister tells her to ‘get over it’

Haviv Rettig Gur is The Times of Israel's senior analyst.

Tzipi Livni and Naftali Bennett (composite image: Flash90)
Tzipi Livni and Naftali Bennett (composite image: Flash90)

The conflict in the governing coalition between the pro-settlement Jewish Home party and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is also the chief peace negotiator, devolved into Facebook sniping on Tuesday.

Livni told Israel Radio on Tuesday morning that the Jewish Home party opposes the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a stance that makes her job as peace negotiator more difficult.

Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads the Jewish Home party, posted a link to his Facebook page on Tuesday afternoon from the right-wing Israel National News site that bore the headline, “Livni: Jewish Home is making it difficult for me.”

Bennett was dismissive in his response to the article. And he was brief. He wrote, in a single Hebrew word, “Get over it.”

A spokesperson for Livni declined to comment on Bennett’s retort.

In her Israel Radio interview, Livni insisted there would be greater support for the peace process in the government if Jewish Home were replaced by the left-wing Labor Party. Jewish Home’s opposition to the two-state solution made it difficult to conduct negotiations, she said, adding that political backing was necessary for any decisions that would have to be made in the negotiations.

On Friday, Labor party chief and opposition head Shelly Yachimovich told UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a meeting in Jerusalem that her party would support Netanyahu’s efforts in renewing negotiations with the Palestinians.

“Though the opposition’s function is to offer alternatives and to lodge criticism, at a time like this we have a leadership role to inspire hope and to back efforts to reach an agreement,” she said.

Yoel Goldman contributed to this report.

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