Yacimovich sworn in as opposition leader (JERUSALEM POST) By LAHAV HARKOV 05/10/12)
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MK Shelly Yacimovich (Labor) was sworn in as opposition leader,
giving her first speech in that capacity in Wednesday’s plenum
Labor called a press conference hours before Yacimovich took her new
position to say that they will lead a “true” opposition, as opposed
to Kadima’s “farce of an opposition.”
“No party is more suited than Labor to head the opposition,”
Yacimovich said. “Kadima was not an alternative for one minute.”
Yacimovich pointed out that the opposition is one of the smallest in
Israel’s history, with a wide, complex range of opinions, but she
will lead them all.
Labor plans to focus on the 2013 budget, which Yacimovich expects to
be “monstrous” and deepen social gaps in Israel.
“The social atmosphere suddenly passed, and all the government is
talking about are the ‘Tal Law’ and Iran,” Yacimovich said. “It is
easy, because they will come to a compromise in the end. It is easy
to say ‘Tal Law’ three times a day, and forget about the budget.”
The Labor leader cited an increasing burden on the middle class,
adding that the public is with her.
“Even though the opposition is small in this building, outside it is
massive,” Labor faction leader Isaac Herzog said.
Later, in her first speech to the plenum, Yacimovich mostly distanced
herself from politics, during a Victory Day ceremony, in which Soviet
Army veterans of World War II filled the plenum’s mezzanine.
Yacimovich began with a personal story, of her mother being saved by
Russian soldiers in Warsaw at the end of the war, and told the
veterans she owes them a “personal debt.”
She said one of the messages of World War II is “not to be like lambs
to the slaughter.”
“However, the message of strength and defense must be balanced with
justice and equality,” Yacimovich stated. “The thing we’re defending
must have meaning.”
For example, she said, Israel must fight racism, and ensure peace,
justice and fair distribution of health with strong mutual
“You deserve to live with respect, a good pension, a roof over your
heads and the ability to buy gifts for your grandchildren,”
Yacimovich told the veterans.
Earlier in the plenum, opposition MKs slammed Kadima and Likud for
their coalition agreement.
MK Benamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor) said he is not surprised the public
lost its faith in politicians, because today the political system
“You sold your soul to the devil,” Ben-Eliezer exclaimed.
Later, Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan told the plenum
he was appalled that a veteran MK would imply that the prime minister
is the devil.
“When your party was in the government, it seemed like you and the
prime minister were friendly,” Erdan said.
Soon after, Ben-Eliezer asked for his comments to be removed from the
Knesset protocol, and clarified that the political move
was “satanic,” and he was not calling Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu the devil.
Meretz MKs also slammed Kadima and Likud, with Nitzan Horowitz
reading the definition of “disgust,” and quoting from soon-to-be
Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz’s infamous “Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu is a liar” speech.
“We are not going to be polite. This is small, disgusting, nauseating
politics, born out of fear, out of panic,” Meretz leader Zehava Gal-
On said. “I am embarrassed for Kadima. This is not clean politics.”
Meanwhile, coalition MKs fought back, with MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima)
calling Labor hypocritical, as they were in the coalition with Likud
before Defense Minister Ehud Barak broke off from the party.
“You come to us with complaints? Are you not embarrassed? Have some
modesty,” he exclaimed. “You didn’t do anything while you were in the
coalition. You did not change anything or pass any laws. You are a
bunch of wet rags – do not think the public will forget it.”
“What would be different if we had elections in September,” MK Tzipi
Hotovely (Likud) asked. “Would Mofaz be more credible? Anyway, he
said he would join Netanyhu’s government after elections, so why is
Hotovely attacked Kadima, saying they did not act like an opposition
party before the national unity agreement. (© 1995-2011, The
Jerusalem Post 05/10/12)
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