Panicked Livni, Lapid Lash Out at Bennett Amid Jewish Home Rise

September 11, 2014  

As polls show strong support for Jewish Home among the electorate – and rapidly slipping support among voters for her Hatnua party – Justice Minister Tzippy Livni said Thursday that as far as she was concerned, the party headed by Nafatali Bennett had no place in the coalition.

“Jewish Home is a party based on deep ideological and religious ideas which will never allow Israel to sign a peace treaty with the Palestinians,” Livni said. “They have no place in the government.”

Speaking to Channel Ten, Livni said that she had been opposed all along to the political alliance between Bennett and Yesh Atid’s Yaif Lapid, and now her suspicions had been borne out. It was only because of that alliance that Bennett was able to slip Jewish Home into the government, she claimed.

A new poll released Monday shows that if elections were held today, Jewish Home would get 19 seats if elections, making it the second largest party in the Knesset. Jewish Home would be followed by Labor, which would maintain its current 15 seats.

A poll last week by the Knesset channel found that 39% of respondents saw Bennett as leader of the “right-wing” in Israel, giving him the edge over Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Coming in second, Netanyahu got 28% support, while 20% picked Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman as their right-wing leader of choice.

Hatnua comes in at about six seats in that poll, the same as the party led by Livni has in the current Knesset. However, other polls have shown her party’s share of seats halved if elections were held today.

All polls currently show a sharp drop for the secularist Yesh Atid party led by Finance Minister Yair Lapid; instead of its current 19 seats, Lapid’s party would get just ten seats if elections were held today according to the latest poll. Thus, Lapid is also on edge – and on Monday he too resorted to lashing out at right-wing coalition partners, declaring that only he could provide a bulwark defense against the growing influence of the right.

“We see threats and opportunities,” Lapid said. “We must meet the threats, but we can not allow the opportunities to slip through our hands. We must use the opportunities to solidify the achievements of the fighting in Gaza and bring security to residents of the South, developing new alliances between Israel and the Arab world and building for our citizens a future they can believe in.”

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