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      Livni Links Gender Segregation, 'Racist' Laws

      Opposition leader Tzipi Livni says nationalist-religious radicalism is behind all the nation's political and social ills.
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 12/19/2011, 10:46 AM

      Tzipi Livni
      Tzipi Livni
      Flash 90

      Opposition leader Tzipi Livni linked the recent "Rosa Parks" incident on a bus that carries hareidi Jews with arson attacks on mosques and unspecified "racist" laws, saying that they are all products of the mindset of a group that is trying to take over Israel.

      "Let no one have any doubt," she wrote in an opinion piece in daily newspaper Ma'ariv: "Forcing a woman off a bus in Ashdod, violence toward IDF commanders, burning of mosques and racist legislation – all of these are part of an attempt to take over Israel. This struggle is between two groups that seek to decide what Israel's character and future will be like."  

      On one side of the divide, Livni sees a group she describes as "Israelis, Zionists, connected to Jewish tradition, tax-paying and proud of Israel, willing to sacrifice in order to keep a Jewish and democratic Israel, while reaching a painful diplomatic arrangement."

      "On the other side," she said, are "ideological fanatics who seek to turn Israel into an isolated Halakhic state."

      The Netanyahu government "will continue to sell the monopoly over Jewish Israel to the hareidi parties," Livni warned, "because this is its political way to survive."

      She added, however, that the struggle is "not against hareidim and settlers, but in favor of a Jewish-democratic identity for Israel." A large majority of settlers support this vision, she claimed, and a large portion of the hareidim "wants us to help them out of their distress."