Yechimovich Boycotts First Zionist Union Meeting

Calling Herzog and Livni's joint leadership of Zionist Union 'absurd,' MK Yechimovich refuses to attend first faction meeting on Monday.

Hezki Baruch, Cynthia Blank,

Yitzhak Herzog, Shelly Yechimovich
Yitzhak Herzog, Shelly Yechimovich
Tomer Neuberg/Flash 90

With the deadline to form a government two days away, drama appears to be spreading across the political spectrum - even to those parties headed for the opposition. 

MK Shelly Yechimovich on Monday boycotted the Zionist Union's first faction meeting, in protest of the decision to open the meeting with Yitzhak Herzog and Tzipi Livni named as co-chairpersons. 

A former Labor leader herself, Yechimovich has been vocal in the past about her opposition to joint leadership of the party, renamed the Zionist Union when Labor and Hatnua merged prior to elections in March. 

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Yechimovich stressed that while she "respects Livni and expects fruitful cooperation with her, I only have one leader named Yitzhak Herzog, who was elected in democratic primary elections."

"The merger between Herzog and Livni was right, I backed it with all my might. But this two-headed leadership was a frog we were forced to swallow as payment during elections," the MK continued. 

"Keeping it in place is completely absurd. It will make us a laughingstock and not allow us to perform seriously as a fighting opposition," Yechimovich explained. 

Zionist Union leaders Herzog and Livni, meanwhile, spent the faction meeting on the attack, albeit against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. 

Criticizing Netanyahu's behavior during ongoing coalition negotiations, Herzog said the negotiations "prove once again how easily pressured Netanyahu is when his political survival is at stake." 

"Netanyahu and his partners are taking the citizens of Israel to a place of political deadlock, economic stagnation, and hopelessness," Herzog charged. 

Livni then promised that Zionist Union would be fighting opposition, struggling for the party's beliefs and values in spite of pressure exerted by Netanyahu. 

"We will struggle for a country whose Judaism is open, receptive, and non-discriminatory. We will fight for the country to have a free media. We will fight on behalf of the High Court," she said.