Tzipi Livni’s new party will not be a part of a government led by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, MK Amir Peretz said on Friday.
A day after he left the Labor party and joined Livni in a surprise move, Peretz told Channel 2 News, "Tzipi Livni refused to enter the Netanyahu government and I believe in her scale of values. I say explicitly that we will not be a part of such a government.” Labor leader Shelly Yechimovich has said she would not rule out joining Netanyahu’s government.
Peretz proceeded to defend his decision to leave Labor, one week after having been placed in the third place on its Knesset list, saying that his commitment is "first of all to the State. I gained nothing by moving from Labor to Livni’s party.”
"I have decided not to deal with issues involving the Labor party anymore," he said. "I wish them luck, and I have no interest in investing efforts to hurt them. What is important right now is that there is no alternative to the Netanyahu government and that’s what I’m here for.”
Asked about whether his move from Labor to Livni’s party was ethical, Peretz slammed Yechimovich for what he said were unethical actions on her behalf when she joined Labor under his leadership in 2005.
"If we’re speaking of ethics, I would like to say that Shelly Yechimovich turned to me asking to join the party,” he said. “Seven years ago she sat with me in the Meet the Press studio, and half an hour later we were eating together at a restaurant and talking about her entering politics.”
About a year and a half ago, after he lost the Labor leadership race to Yechimovich, Peretz signed a document in which he undertakes to remain in the Labor party despite the loss. The same document was also signed by Amram Mitzna, another former Labor chairman who joined Livni’s party.
Peretz defended his decision to leave despite signing the document. "No one wants my services in the party and I do not force myself on anyone," he said and, in a veiled criticism of Yechimovich’s focus on social issues, added, “One of the commitments in that document is also to present a political outline."
On Thursday, Yechimovich blasted Peretz over his move and called it a “moral low.”
"The public is overwhelmed by the moral low and by the fact that every time a new record is broken in Israeli politics,” she said during a conference of Labor activists in Tel Aviv.
"Do not give in to these scenes of political corruption, opportunism, the plots, the spins, the impulse, to the subversion, to the games which have no values,” said Yechimovich. “It does not have to be that way. There is also normal politics based on democracy and values. Dear public, you deserve better.”
Livni’s party said in response to Yechimovich’s criticism, "The reactions by Yechimovich and the Labor party are indicative of hysteria and confusion. Taking a seat from a party after the public elected you and going to another party it is opportunism. However, coming to the public before the election and introducing to it a common path and request confidence in that common path - that is the correct and necessary politics.”
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)