Livni, Herzog Deny Rotation Retraction is a Ploy

Both party leaders claim the move was 'necessary' to replace Netanyahu in the face of enormous backlash.

Tova Dvorin ,

Yitzhak Herzog, Tzipi Livni
Yitzhak Herzog, Tzipi Livni
Amir Levy/Flash 90

Despite the accusations of several MKs, Labor-Hatnua leader Tzipi Livni's last-minute dropout as premier is not due to "pressure" and is not a "ploy," Livni and party chairman Yitzhak Herzog insisted Monday night. 

"It's really not due to last-minute pressure," Herzog stated on Channel 2. "Today Livni told me very gently, 'if the rotation agreement is an obstacle to the establishment of a government in any way, I will not stand in the way."

If anything, Herzog opined, Netanyahu's response indicates "a very big panic," and that ultimately, "the good of the State of Israel is above all" other considerations. 

Herzog also hinted that talk about a unity government is "nonsense." Earlier this week, he told Walla! News that he would not join a unity government under Netanyahu, but would allow Netanyahu to join his own government. 

Livni reiterated that the move was "not a tactic" and that despite the choice to abdicate, she is still "together" in terms of leadership with Herzog for the party. 

"We're going together, the agreement between us still exists," she said. "This is not a tactical move [. . .] the two of us, we have created a partnership that became historic for this unnecessary election, and I made it clear that we had to do everything we could to replace Netanyahu, and to replace him the rotation will not be a stumbling block."

Earlier Monday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu - echoing the concerns of several MKs - opined that the move reflects the untrustworthiness of Livni and Herzog.

"This just proves how necessary it is to close that gap and win," the Prime Minister stressed. 

"Two things are evident: the first is that they are lying - either that they lied before or they're lying now. The second thing - they are unable to handle the pressure." 

"If they can't withstand the pressure of the polls, how will they be able to handle international pressure?" Netanyahu pondered.