Tzipi Livni
Tzipi LivniKobi Richter/TPS

Hatnuah chairwoman, MK Tzipi Livni, announced Monday morning that the party would not run in the coming legislative elections, and that she is leaving politics.

After a twenty-year career in politics, the former Opposition Leader, who also served as Justice Minister and Foreign Minister, cited concerns that her party could weaken the left-wing bloc, taking thousands of votes while having little chance of passing the threshold.

Speaking at a press conference in Tel Aviv, Livni, who fought back tears during her address, referenced the recently dissolved alliance between Hatnuah and Labor, saying that while she had sought to bring about a united left-wing bloc, her efforts had failed this time around.

“There should have been a single bloc to bring a political revolution, but that didn’t happen,” Livni said.

“I worked to make a [left-wing] alliance. This time, it didn’t happen.”

In 2015, Livni’s party ran on a joint list with Labor, netting 24 seats.

The two factions remained together until last month, when Labor chief Avi Gabbay terminated the alliance.

The Zionist Union had fallen in the polls since the 2015 election, and had been projected to win just seven to eleven seats. Without its alliance with Labor, Hatnuah struggled to clear the electoral threshold, leading to concerns that the party would cost the left-wing bloc thousands of votes.

Livni cited these concerns in her address Monday, saying she would not let Hatnuah harm the left’s chances to form a viable alternative to the Netanyahu government.

“I always said that the state comes first, then the party, and then myself. Now I’m reaffirming that, putting myself second – and announcing that my faction, Hatnuah, will not be running [in this year’s election]. We don’t have enough backing to run alone. I could never forgive myself if we cost [the left] wasted votes.”

The 60-year-old political veteran first launched her career as a lawmaker with the Likud, but joined then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon when he bolted the party to form Kadima.

Livni won control of Kadima in 2008, and the party became the Knesset’s largest faction in 2009. Four years later, however, Kadima was in decline, and prior to the 2013 elections, Livni formed the new Hatnuah faction, winning six seats. The faction joined with Labor to form the Zionist Union in 2015, netting a total of 24 mandates, before the alliance was dissolved early this January.

The former opposition leader said during her address Monday that she was concerned by the turn of Israeli politics away from the idea of separating from the Palestinian population – an idea advanced by Kadima and the policy of unilateral disengagement – with calls for annexation of Judea and Samaria.

“I worked to preserve the Jewish majority in Israel and to anchor recognition of the State of Israel in [recognition] of it as the state of the Jewish people. A peaceful separation from the Palestinians is necessary to preserve the character of the State of Israel as a Jewish state. That is the platform, the vision, the path.”

“That should have been obvious in Israel, but today it is not. The attempts to disengage have been replaced with ideas about annexation which will lead to an Arab majority.”

"I'm leaving politics, but I won't let our dream of peace disappear from Israel."