As if Israel had a dearth of political parties and all it needed to make things right was just one more, Tzippi Livni has launched a new party in time for the upcoming elections.
Former Kadima leader Tzipi Livni on Tuesday announced her new political party, Hatnua (“The Movement”), in a press conference in Tel Aviv, calling for a change to Israel’s domestic and foreign agendas and saying, “If we don’t make a change now, we won’t be able to make it in the future.”
Livni began her address to the press by recalling the birth of her political career, a few weeks before the assassination of then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. She said she would fight for a “democratic Israel” and added, “Things are deteriorating in Israel. There is no one who represents us.”
“It’s tough to return to political life,” she said, recounting that when her youngest son, an officer, was sent to the south last week during Operation Pillar of Defense, she texted him to say she was planning to run. “I told him I would fight in my [political] arena so that he wouldn’t have to fight in his.”
Why does she feel the need to start a new party? Why can she not remain in Kadima under the leadership of Mofaz? Her move (excuse the pun) smacks of ego rather than nationalistic altruism.
“Everything is upside down,” Livni said, and went on to allude to the government’s ceasefire negotiations with Hamas versus the lack of peace talks with the Palestinian Authority: “The government enters dialogue with those who support terror and avoids the camp that has prevented terror, that fights for two states.”
Well now, that’s rich coming from her. Who was it who negotiated a ceasefire with Hezbollah after the Second Lebanon War in 2006? Who negotiated with Hamas after Operation Cast Lead in 2008-9?
Moving on to domestic issues, Livni pledged to push for ultra-Orthodox military conscription and to promote initiatives that would allow “young people to have homes, earn a living, and live with dignity without always fearing for the future.”
Hmm. Sounds suspiciously like Kadima’s platform. And Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party.
“The Movement is the only party that can do this,” she said, noting that Monday night’s Likud primaries only strengthened the right-wing and “Feiginlists” at the helm of the country. “I oppose their extremism. I’m in favor of a Zionist party — a liberal, secular, and democratic party.”
That’s fine. I repeat, what’s wrong with Kadima (don’t start…) or the Labour party or Yesh Atid? Why start another party in an already crowded field.
Livni’s address was punctuated by applause from supporters who joined the press gathering. Livni will reportedly be joined by a cadre of former Kadima Knesset members and other would-be politicians, including MKs Yohanan Plesner, Shlomo Mola, Yoel Hasson and Professor Yitzhak Ben Yisrael; diplomat Daniel Shek, and Boaz Nol, one of the leaders of the Suckers’ movement, which has spearheaded the struggle for universal conscription.
It’s Kadima redux. Why not just call it Kadima II?
Livni’s choice to establish her own party has drawn the ire of left-leaning parties that were seeking her support, including Labor Party chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich, who had appealed to Livni to join forces with her.
Yachimovich is right to be angry. Livni is further splitting and weakening the left and center-left vote in Israel.
The name of Livni’s party is “Hatnuah” in Hebrew which has two literal translations. The first is “the Movement” which is what Livni intended, and the second is “the traffic” which she certainly did not.
The name, as you can imagine, has given rise to enormous mirth in Israel, and Twitter is alive with the sound of puns and funny jokes at the expense of Livni and her new party.
Some of the jokes are not much more than toilet humour, riffing on the word “Movement” – and you can use your imagination for the rest.
The other puns focus on the second meaning of the word: “Traffic”. This has given rise to remarks like “When they report from the Knesset on Hatnua, it’s going to sound like “Here is the traffic report from Knesset” “.
Here are a few tweets for your entertainment and edification:
The tweet below translates as: “And now to our Knesset correspondent with reports on Hatnua (or with traffic reports):
The tweet below translates as: “I swear I just heard on Reshet Bet: “Tzippi Livni’s new movement is called… The Movement”… and then there was this embarrassing silence”.
And for a grand finale, I give you Israellycool’s short post:
Yep, The Movement.
While I’m sure Tzipi is flushed with pride at creating yet another political party, I’m guessing this one is going down the toilet.
And yeah, I know I’m being feces-tious, but it was too hard to resist.
I’m having way too much fun this but I had better stop right here before I waste another few hours laughing at the absurdity that is Israeli politics.
I hope I’ve provided you with enough entertainment to last the day.