Throughout her political career spanning two decades, Hatnuah leader MK Tzipi Livni has frequently caused the ire of the Knesset's religious parties.
Since leaving the Likud party in 2005, Livni has made a long stream of anti-religious statements and has consistently voted in favor of legislation that would erode the status-quo regulating Judaism's place in the public sphere.
Yet on Thursday, MK Yoel Hasson, a lawmaker in Livni's Hatnuah faction, revealed that his faction leader is more connected to Jewish ritual observance than previously thought. Speaking with the haredi newspaper Yom L'Yom, Hasson offered rare words of praise for the haredi community and alleged that Livni regularly attended synagogue and eats only Kosher food.
"Tzipi Livni is perceived as a secular Tel Avivian but this is false," said Hasson. "Tzipi Livni is a traditional woman, who eats kosher, for which the Jewish tradition is important."
Hasson added that Livni "goes to a synagogue and views preserving Israel as a Jewish State with Jewish values as extremely important".
Hasson also complimented haredi lawmakers for their "broad ability to accommodate the needs of the general society. When I see [Moshe] Gafni today in the Finance Committee, when I see Litzman as a Health minister today, they also look at Israeli society in a broad way".
Born to senior members of the Irgun paramilitary organization, Livni rose through the ranks in the Likud only to abandon it along with former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2005. Ever since, she has cycled through a number of political parties and was recently axed from a union with the Labor party by faction head Avi Gabbay.
Since the dissolving of the Zionist Union, Livni’s Hatnuah faction has struggled in the polls, failing in most of them to cross the 3.25% electoral threshold required to enter the Knesset.