Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich's
announcement that under no circumstance would she enter a coalition headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drew
harsh criticism from many sides of the political spectrum.
said on Thursday that Yachimovich has "hammered the "final nail into the secular-Zionist coalition's coffin," adding that she "is in the midst of a hysterical fit. Today she has erased any chance of forming a non-messianic government that would stop funneling billions into yeshivas and lone outposts."
According to the party's statement, "Yesh Atid will not sit as a fig leaf in a government formed by messianic right-wingers and haredim, and we will not join a coalition that will continue to pillage the nation's treasury.
"The public must decide who it wants in government: Shas and the extreme right or Yesh Atid, which will fight for the middle class."
Later on Thursday, Lapid wrote on his Facebook page that he has no intention of joining a "far-right" Likud-led government. He published the remarks as clarification to his condemnation of Yachimovich's announcement that the Labor Party would not join any Likud government.
"For all those who asked: Are you crazy? It is obvious that we will not be a fifth wheel in a Shas-far-right government. On the other hand, if we will have enough Knesset seats, it will be possible to form a different, moderate government," he wrote.
Yachimovich killed Zionist coalition (Photo: Yaron Brener)
On the backdrop of sinking poll numbers, personal squabbling with Avigdor Lieberman
and harsh criticism of the government's economic policy, Yachimovich called a press conference, announcing: "There are two options: Either the Labor party, with me as it's head, will form the government, or we will head the opposition."
Former Foreign Minister Lieberman responded to Yachimovich's announcement by saying, "There will be a competition for who will join our government. When Yachimovich talks about national issues, I know the founding fathers of Zionism are turning over in their graves, and when she talks about economic ones I know Marx and Lenin are dancing the hora together.
"Yachimovich does not need to give up, rather just accept that the election has already been decided - we will form the next government," he said.
Lieberman: Marx and Lenin are dancing (Photo: Yaron Brener)
Livni: I have never sold out for a chair (Photo: Yaron Brener)
Head of the Hatnua
party, Tzipi Livni
also came out against Yachimovich's statement, claiming the Labor chairwoman erred in saying in advance she would not join this or that coalition.
"I don't believe we should give up, we should fight together, forming a front against the radical front (on the right)," Livni said.
However, she added: "I have never sold out for a (Knesset) seat; this was my guiding principle in the past as it is now, and it is on the basis of my principles that I will decide on the day after the election what to do."
The Hatnua party issued a statement saying Yachimovich has "given up and condemned herself to the opposition; from there she will not achieve anything."
Deri: Shas is the sole social marker
one of Shas' leaders, said in response to Yachimovich's statement that: "Now it is clear that Shas will be the only social marker in the (next) government."
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz
of the ruling Likud party spoke at a commerce conference and criticized Yachimovich's resume:
"She has no experience, not in finance and not in security. She has not served as a minister and has not even headed the Knesset Finance Committee. However, she seems to have the pretension to run the country. Next week she is likely to promise world peace."
The Labor party continued to defend Yachimovich's words.
"We are sorry to hear Yesh Atid and other parties have given up to defeatism any desire to win the election," a party statement said.
"The elections have begun again today. All attack lines and slogans used until yesterday must be redirected into a struggle to replace Netanyahu-Lieberman."
During a conference on Thursday, Yachimovich commented on the small and mid-size businesses instead, which according to her are the backbone of the Israeli economy:
"It is a shame that such businesses are treated as a step-child, in its most negative connotation. While big corporations enjoy endless credit and wide tax exemptions, there is another group that enjoys neither.
"Watch my lips and mark my words: We will not raise taxes on small and medium-sized businesses; we will do the opposite and make their lives easier."
Likud Minister Gilad Erdan called Yachimovich's economic plan "bizarre" and claimed it will force millions into unemployment: "She has lost control of her radical-left party. Now she is trying to please them."