Daily Israel Report

Livni: "I Refused to Sell Out Country to Hareidim"

In resignation speech, former Kadima head prides herself on principles but handwritten note says otherwise.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 5/1/2012, 2:30 PM

Livni's farewell
Livni's farewell
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Four weeks after she was trounced by MK Shaul Mofaz in Kadima's primaries, former Kadima chair Tzipi Livni resigned Tuesday from the party. In her farewell speech, she prided herself on "refusing to surrender to political blackmail." However, a handwritten note apparently says otherwise.

"I am not sorry that I refused to engage in profiteering with public money," Livni said. "I am not sorry that I opposed stopping the diplomatic process that is the key to Israel's future, even when the price was the office of Prime Minister. That is why I am not sorry that I refused to sell out the state to hareidim in order to create a government."

Livni's Kadima party received slightly more seats than the Likud in the last election, but she was unable to gather enough coalition partners to form a government. One of the reasons is that the hareidi parties did not join her in forming a coalition.

"And no, I am not sorry that I refused to be a partner to the policy of the present government, which is causing the deterioration of the state of Israel, although the price of this decision was to sit in the Opposition and despite the heavy personal price I paid for this decision as well."

Livni's voice shook slightly and she was visibly overcome by emotion. "I have always said that the [political] seat is not everything," she said. I am leaving the Knesset at this point, but I am not leaving political life… Many have asked me to stay at the wheel, but I do not see politics as a kind of Ferris wheel that is supposed to cause politicians joy when they reach the top. I will continue the struggle, in the position and way that will allow me to continue to represent the values in which I believe…"

MK Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) has refuted Livni's claim regarding non-appeasement of hareidim in the past. In a Knesset speech five months ago, he showed a handwritten note which he said was written by Livni's chief of staff in 2008. The note specifies the amounts of money that yeshiva students would receive under Livni's government if UTJ would join her coalition – and the amounts are sizably larger than those Netanyahu offered at the time.