Livni nettles Likud with off-color digs at Netanyahu

PM’s compatriots spring to his defense after Hatnua leader goes on satire show to call him ‘impotent,’ ‘zero’ and ‘trash’

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel.

Likud lawmakers were fuming Sunday at Hatnua party leader Tzipi Livni over denigrating remarks she aimed at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the night before on a TV political satire show. One minister even accused Livni of being “on drugs.”

Livni, who was fired by Netanyahu from her post as justice minister last month and has since joined forces with the Labor Party ahead of March’s elections, appeared on “State of the Nation,” an Israeli political comedy show on Saturday night.

Referring to her arrangement with Labor leader Isaac Herzog, in which the two party leaders would rotate serving as prime minister should they form a government, Livni dissed Netanyahu by saying “Better two potential prime ministers than one impotent prime minister.”

She went on to jest that together, she and Herzog would share duties, such as washing the dishes and doing the laundry, before adding, in a clear reference to Netanyahu: “But both of us would take out the trash together.”

In one final jab, Livni addressed Netanyahu’s cause for dissolving the government, which he said was, in part, intractable disagreement within the government over then-finance minister Yair Lapid’s bill to offer value-added-tax-free apartments to first-time homeowners.

“The truth is that Bibi [Netanyahu] said that we’re going to elections over zero VAT,” she said. “I thought there was a zero in this story, but it’s not VAT.”

An apparently incensed Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz responded to Livni’s remarks on Sunday morning, asking, “Is Livni on drugs?

“Yesterday we saw a bizarre figure who hurled unprecedented insults at the prime minister,” Katz said. He charged that “ever since she lost contact with [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] she’s been out of whack. Addicted to contact with Palestinians — she can’t kick the habit.”

Likud MK Miri Regev also commented on Facebook on Livni’s remarks, joking that the former justice minister was a “demolitions contractor.”

“She’s having a hard time finding a junkyard that will accept the garbage that she’s left after her in the last few Knessets,” Regev remarked. “I say this in the name of freedom of satire in response to the not-funny things she said on ‘State of the Nation.'”

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