World Jewish News
Tzipi Livni speaking to Kadima activists in Tel Aviv, Jan. 31, 2012. Photo by: Motil Milrod (Haaretz.com)
Tzipi Livni quits Knesset, says Israel's leaders put country at existential risk
Former Kadima leader Tzipi Livni resigned from the Knesset on Tuesday, warning in her resignation address that Israel's leaders are putting the country's existence at risk by choosing to ignore the mounting impatience on the part of the international community.
Livni submitted her resignation to Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, in a meeting that put an end to the wide spread speculation that she would resign following a decisive loss to Shaul Mofaz at the Kadima primary in March.
Speaking to the press after her meeting with Rivlin, Livni said she had "the honor of leading Kadima in an election, and receiving the public's trust, granting it 28 [Knesset seats]. And Kadima is today Israel's largest party."
The former Kadima leader also hinted at the possibility of her return to politics through different avenues, that she was "leaving the Knesset at this point, but I'm not retiring from public life," saying that Israel was "too dear to me."
In her speech, Livni warned of an existential threat Israel faced under its current leadership, saying that "Israel is on a volcano, the international clock is ticking, and the existence of a Jewish, democratic state is in mortal danger."
"The real danger is a politics that buries its head in the sand," Livni said, adding that it didn’t "take a Shin Bet chief to know that" – an apparent reference to recent comments made by the former chief of the security service Yuval Diskin, critical of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's policies on Iran and Middle East peace.
Livni said she didn't regret the decisions that may have brought on her political downfall, saying she wasn't "sorry for not backing down in the face of political blackmail, even when the price was staying outside the government, and for not willing to sell the country to the ultra-Orthodox.
"And I'm definitely not sorry for the main issue I promoted – even if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict isn't in vogue right now, there's an urgent need to reach a permanent agreement with the Palestinians as well as with the Arab world," she added.