Tzipi Livni blasts Labor leader after shocking on-air dismissal

Tzipi Livni expressed her displeasure with Avi Gabbay after he dissolved the Zionist Union on Tuesday without first informing her.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Tzipi Livni, chairwoman of the Hatnuah Party, blasted Labor Party chief Avi Gabbay Wednesday morning. Gabbay had ended an alliance with Livni without first notifying her of his intentions.

Livni appeared in shock as Gabbay made his announcement during a press conference from a podium on live television. She didn’t say anything at the conference other than that she would comment later.

“You saw a weak man who tried to make a turn,” Livni told news site Ynet on Wednesday.

“Everybody who saw what happened yesterday knows he isn’t a candidate for premier,” she said in a separate interview on Israel’s Army Radio.

Livni clearly felt offended by the fact that Gabbay did not tell her ahead of time before his announcement, telling Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot, “At least call me up, make a meeting, tell me ‘Listen, this isn’t working out, this won’t lead to success …’ I would have said, ‘Sure,’ shook his hand and organized a press conference with us together saying that this isn’t working out, in a mutually respectful way.”

Gabbay and Livni had partnered to form the Zionist Union alliance. Current polls showed a steep drop in support for the Zionist Union, prompting Gabbay to abruptly dissolve it.

“I had hoped and believed that the change [in party leadership] and our new partnership would lead to our growth, to a real connection,” Gabbay said. “But the public is wise, it sees that that isn’t the situation, and has moved away from us,” Gabbay said on Tuesday.

Gabbay is reportedly looking for a partnership with “Israel Resilience,” a new party formed by former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Ganz.

Livni’s future uncertain

Livni wants to build a new bloc of parties, but she might find it hard to convince potential partners, The Jerusalem Post reported. If she doesn’t succeed, she’ll have to run as head of Hatnuah, a party that won six seats in 2013.

It is possible that without joining a group of parties, Livni will not succeed in making it into the 21st Knesset, the report says.

Elections are scheduled for April 9.