In her response to getting thrown out of Zionist Camp earlier Tuesday, Tzipi Livni said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon that Labor head Avi Gabay was a newcomer to the party. “I established Zionist Camp with Yitzhak Herzog,” the former head of Labor, she said. “I thought that this partnership would lead to unity, but all I hear from Gabay is ‘me, me, me.’ Despite that, I agreed to partner with Zionist Camp.”
Earlier, Gabay focused the blame for the breakup of the party on Livni. Speaking at a meeting of MKs earlier Tuesday, Gabay attributed his decision to divorce his Labor party from Livni’s Hatnua movement to “tension” between Livni and the rest of the party. “When former Labor chairperson Yitzchak Herzog resigned, Tzippy made it a condition of her continuing the partnership that she be named head of the opposition. This generated much tension in the party, and even more,” as Labor MKs felt slighted that they were passed over for the top spot in the party in deference to Livni.
Livni – as well as most Zionist Camp MKs – was not aware of Gabay’s plans before he announced them at the meeting. “My mother told me that all delays are for the best, and I say that surprises are good,” Livni said at the press conference. “I had a very hard time aligning with Labor – I am more of a Jabotinsky person than a Ben Gurion person,” referring to the two rival luminaries of prestate Israel – Labor Zionist leader David Ben Gurion, who eventually went on to establish the country, and Revisionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky, whose imprint on the nation was not made until 1977, when Menachem Begin became prime minister.
“I had a true partnership with Herzog, and that is what brought us 24 seats in the current Knesset,” Livni said. “With Gabay I had no partnership, and the way he ended our political relationship is a testimony to that. The ideas of Kadima, and Hatnu’a, never received their just due in Zionist Camp with Gabay at the helm. I fulfilled my part of the partnership agreement because I saw myself as committed to making the partnership work,” she said, adding that numerous MKs had urged her to bolt from Zionist Camp.
“More important than the divorce from Zionist Camp is that Israel divorce from the current government,” Livni said. “Our fight is for Zionism itself, for a Jewish state that is democratic and has equality for all. I call on all parts of the left to work together.”