(January 2, 2019 / JNS) Anyone who remembers the frustrations expressed by Yitzhak Rabin in his memoir “Service Book,” in which he described Shimon Peres as a “tireless schemer,” can better understand Labor leader Avi Gabbay’s treatment of Tzipi Livni.
After “getting nothing but crap from her,” Gabbay had no intention of being nice. He essentially began preparing his ambush the moment Isaac Herzog stepped down and Livni “asked to replace him as opposition leader,” in his words.
An hour later, she hit back. “What I’ve been hearing is only me, me and me,” she said at the press conference she convened—an odd claim from someone who since 2007 hasn’t said much beyond “Me, me and me!”
Those who were offended by Gabbay’s chosen course of action certainly forgot the refrain “Don’t be kind to the cruel,” just as Livni has forgotten virtually everything bequeathed by the founder of Revisionist Zionism, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, whose doctrine she has all but shunned.
For Livni, all means are justified; her predominant trait is serial disloyalty. She is a woman who betrayed her constituents. She paved her way into the hearts of Likudniks with the slogan “Tzipi Livni: A name that’s an institution [mossad in Hebrew, a reference to her work in the Mossad intelligence agency in the early 1980s].”
The Livni name also recalls the storied careers of her parents, “Little Sarah” and Eitan Livni, who were prominent members of the prestate Irgun militia.
Seven years later, the brilliant newcomer, who promised them she had entered politics only to eradicate the perilous Oslo Accords, spit in their collective faces when she helped Ariel Sharon abrogate the party referendum over his planned disengagement from the Gaza Strip and then moved “forward” (kadima) with him to his newly formed Kadima Party.
She betrayed then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert when, two days after the Winograd Commission submitted its interim conclusions about the Second Lebanon War, she declared at a press conference that “resigning is the right thing for him to do.” Champions of governmental quality who fleetingly believed in her integrity were stunned when just a few weeks later—after it became obvious that she lacked support within Kadima to replace Olmert as prime minister—she again convened a press conference to retract her call for Olmert to step down.
She betrayed Kadima after Shaul Mofaz was elected party chairman, leaving the party with millions of shekels in debt to establish Hatnuah.
“A party is just a platform,” she told the antiquated rubes among us who still believe in ideology.
Livni helped spearhead the law to shut down Israel Hayom, coordinating her steps with Yediot Achronot publisher Arnon Mozes in exchange for favorable coverage in his newspaper, yet has the gall to allege “corruption” in Case 2000.
Now then, who will join her?
Yair Lapid, who has called for a “different type of politics”? Moshe Ya’alon, who as IDF chief of staff said he needed extra-high-top paratroopers’ boots to defend himself against “the snakes”? Benny Gantz, who is painstakingly avoiding anything that could taint his pristine image? Time will tell. What we do know is that in this messy and public divorce, Gabbay adopted the Rabin legacy by branding his adversary with that immortal epithet of “tireless schemer.”