Two days after former Foreign Minister and Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni launched her new party, Hatnuah ("The Movement"), Israel Hayom has learned that Labor leader Shelly Yachimovich offered Livni the post of foreign minister if she joined Labor and the party won the right to form the next government.
Yachimovich confirmed that she had also offered Livni the positions of chief negotiator with the Palestinians, deputy prime minister and the No. 2 spot in the party without having to run for it.
"Livni's decision to run on a separate ticket was a foolish political move that will splinter the [left-center] bloc," Yachimovich said.
She admitted that Livni's decision to run at the head of her own party would have a negative effect on Labor.
"It's true without a doubt that the Labor party will be hurt by this,” Yachimovich said. “But what kind of move was this? Was an alternative to the government established by these seven seats [that Livni is expected to win], which have divided the bloc and sent a message to the public that the Right has unified while the Left is still busy creating additional splinter parties?"
Yachimovich also spoke of her failed contacts with Livni.
"Six months ago, I went to Livni's home and made her an exceptionally honorable offer and said to her, 'Let's do this together.' I can say that I did all I could, even at the expense of my own honor which I didn't consider at all, to bring about exactly what you [Livni] have spoken of [a better Israel]," Yachimovich said.
Addressing Livni again, Yachimovich said, "I wanted to join forces with you and form a united front that could excite the public and establish a large party that would present a viable threat to [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu's rule. Launching this tiny party, which was received with a cold public shoulder, with only seven projected seats from its outset — an initial showing that should be a lot higher for any fledging party — shows how much this move was unnecessary."
Aside from Yachimovich, four out of the top 20 spots on the Labor list — which are realistically expected to win Knesset seats in the coming elections — will be reserved for women, two in each group of 10, giving women the fifth, ninth, 14th and 19th spots. In the next group of 10, which are less likely to win seats, spots 24 and 29 are reserved for women.
Among the 83 candidates in the party's primaries scheduled for Thursday, 18 women are running, including Merav Michaeli, Michal Biran, Stav Shaffir, Yona Prital, Meli Polishook-Bloch, Nurit Tsur, Liat Shohat, Nino Abesadze, Aviva Avraham, Esti Kirmayer, Yael Aran, Nadia Hilou, Leah Fadida, Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin, Gila Klein, Lilly Ben-Ami, Ellis Goldman and Dana Oren-Yanai.
Michal Biran is the favorite of Yachimovich, while Merav Michaeli is being promoted by the party's second faction leader, Amir Peretz.
The candidates include three former and current female MKs: current MK Nino Abesadze and former MKs Meli Polishook-Bloch and Nadia Hilou. Since Polishook-Bloch is expected to take the spot reserved for immigrants, she is in any case ensured a high place on the list.
Other outstanding female candidates are Stav Shaffir, a social protest leader in the summer of 2011; Nurit Tsur, former CEO of the Israel Women's Network; and Esti Kirmayer, head of the Jerusalem branch of the Labor party.
Labor is running its primaries campaign under the name "An Equal List" (with the Hebrew word for "equal" also meaning "worthy"), and is calling on members to give equal consideration to male and female candidates.