It’s official: there will be no national unity government in Israel. President Shimon Peres has asked Benjamin Netanyahu of Likud to form a coalition government, and Kadima will not be included.
According to The Jerusalem Post:
Peres tasks Netanyahu with forming new government
Netanyahu arrived a[t] Beit Hanassi on Friday afternoon and received the president’s official letter of appointment.
Earlier, after emerging from a meeting with Peres, Livni announced that she had no intention of joining a broad coalition under Netanyahu, despite the Likud chairman’s assertion that he was willing to “go to great lengths” in order to induce Kadima to join his government.
“It appears that the coalition which has been formed in recent days lacks diplomatic vision,” Livni said after the meeting. The Kadima leader rejected the president’s plea that she reconsider joining a coalition comprised of the three largest parties — Kadima, Likud and Israeli Beiteinu — and asserted that a “broad coalition is worthless if it is not governed by values.”
Netanyahu, who met with Peres shortly before Livni, said that Kadima would be the first party he turns to after receiving the nod from Peres. “I am willing to go to great lengths in the negotiations needed to establish such a government,” the Likud leader said after his meeting with Peres, echoing assessments that he would be willing to give Kadima several senior portfolios in his cabinet.
Here’s the part I don’t understand: since Kadima was made out of a rib removed from Likud, how far apart can these two parties be, really?
Obviously, they have their differences. But Livni was a member of Likud not too long ago, so either she was a hypocrite back then, or she is now, or she has had a road-to-Damascus conversion experience in the meantime.
Now she’s ready to anathematize Likud as “right-wing extremists”:
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“Today, the foundations of a right-wing extremist government under Netanyahu were set,” Livni wrote in a cellular phone text message sent to some 80,000 Kadima members Thursday. “The path of such a government is not our own and we have nothing to look for there. You didn’t vote for us in order to provide a kosher certificate for a right-wing government, and we need to provide an alternative of hope from the opposition.”
Livni’s associates said she knew she could have received an unlimited number of portfolios from Netanyahu, but she was not willing to sacrifice her ideology, which she believes is far removed from that of the Likud.
The fortunes of Israel’s Labour Party have declined in recent years, leaving Likud and Kadima as the two major parties contending for public approval. This obviously means that the center of gravity in Israeli politics has shifted dramatically to the right.
But somebody has to take up the mantle of appeasement in order to win the approval of all those squishy-left voters who used to support Labour. It seems that Tzipi Livni is the woman for the job.
Hat tip: KGS.