Friday, 30 March 2012

Kadima election - first thoughts

I confess I have something of a soft spot for Tzipi Livni, for two principal reasons.Firstly, and it's worth remembering, she could and would have been prime minister had she given in to Shas's extortion and continued the government she inherited from Ehud Olmert on the back of increased funds for Charedi yeshivot and schools. That she preferred to stick to her principles was admirable, and a marked contrast to the man who did become Prime Minister. Netanyahu often acts as though being in power is the end rather than the means.

Secondly, she is the only leading Israeli politician in recent years to have made a point of speaking out on the need for Jewish pluralism in Israel and for really trying to ask questions about how to strengthen Jewish identity in Israel in a pluralistic way. In 2010 she even held a day-long conference in the Knesset on the subject, moderated by the Shalom Hartman Institute - one of the outstanding centers of open-minded Jewish and Zionist thought in the world.