Livni Warns Government has 'Reached a Crossroads'

Elections rhetoric becomes more blatant, as Hatnua head calls to let voters choose between 'two worldviews,' slams 'Knesset extremists.'

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Hezki Baruch, Ari Yashar,

Tzipi Livni
Tzipi Livni
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, head of the coalition member Hatnua faction, spoke on Monday at a meeting of her party about the possibility of breaking apart the government. 

At the opening of the Hatnua meeting, Livni said "the government of Israel has reached a crossroads, and the prime minister was correct to say 'no more' yesterday," referencing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's statements Sunday warning of a possible coalition shakeup.

"We need to stop the violence, the racism, the incitement and fight against difficult bills, or go to the voter and let them choose between two paths, between two worldviews," said Livni. "Our path is clear. We simply need to stop the extremists, some of whom are in the Knesset, some in the government."

The reference to "difficult bills" likely refers to the Jewish State Law, which has brought coalition tensions to the breaking point in proposing that Israeli law enshrine the country's status as the nation state of the Jewish people in a Basic Law. Israel has no constitution, but it has several Basic Laws that are used as precedents in the courts. The bill is seen as important in offering numerous benefits to legally combating terrorism, illegal infiltrators, and many other threats against which the Supreme Court limits the legislature's responses by using the Basic Human Dignity and Freedom Law to strike down legislation.

Netanyahu has been pushing for the law, even as he took out some key points from it that would have given the Jewish status of the state preeminence to the democratic status, and made Arabic a "special status" language and not an official language.

"What isn't appropriate is on the one hand not to go to elections, and on the other to continue with the extremist bills, the harsh criticism and riding the wave of racism," stated Livni.

Her statements come as opposition and Labor chairman MK Yitzhak Herzog submitted a bill to break apart the government; the bill is to come up for a vote on Wednesdsay, but is likely to be shot down unless it gets support from within the coalition.

Yedioth Aharonoth reports the hareidi parties Shas and United Torah Judaism submitted similar bills separately, a meaningful move given Netanyahu's reported attempts to form an alternate coalition with the hareidi parties.

Livni's talk of "crossroads" also comes as Netanyahu is set to meet with Yesh Atid chairman and Finance Minister Yair Lapid on Monday evening, in the first meeting of the two after roughly a month of no contact.

Nir Hefetz, an adviser to Netanyahu, said Monday that the point of the meeting would not be "reconciliation" between the two, but rather for Netanyahu to see if the coalition is salvageable, after senior Likud officials warned last week the government "cannot continue" in its current status.