Hatnua Chairwoman Tzipi Livni
accused the religious Shas
and Habayit Hayehudi
parties on Wednesday of promoting a radical agenda that could lead to the "end of Zionism."
"The merger between an extremist group that prefers an undivided Israel
over a Jewish state and another group that wants to turn Israel into a state ruled by Jewish law is dangerous," she told supporters at a Tel Aviv bar. "This kind of situations portends the end of Zionism, in my opinion."
Livni continued to blast the ruling Likud
party for forsaking its liberal principles for nationalistic ones.
"Radical elements are taking over our lives, and if we don't stop them we will face a dangerous reality," she said. "This extremism is embodied by Likud officials including Feiglin, Hotovely, Levin and others. They belong to a party that once was national and liberal and has since become nationalistic. It pushed away the liberalism and everyone who represented a balanced world view."
Speaking to students at the Ono Academic College earlier Wednesday, Livni conveyed qualms about the escalating extremism within the national-religious public.
"We're stuck in a horror movie and not everyone understands what's in store for the end," she said. "The State of Israel is led by radicals. (Prime Minister) Netanyahu
is led towards the end of Zionism. He is led by the Feiglins and Bennetts who have been designated by rabbis."
She leveled harsh criticism at Shas for a campaign television ad
that mocked the Jewish conversion procedures that some Russian immigrants undergo – an ad that was lifted off the air after ruffling many feathers.
"It’s a hateful, disgusting campaign and I'm glad it was banned," she said, noting that during her tenure as the immigrant absorption minister she was exposed to hardships faced by olim who choose to convert to Judaism.
"Shas, whose (supporters) don't serve in the army or work, dare to go against these people who come to the country and enlist," she said. "The big problem is not with Shas' campaign, but with Netanyahu and his natural partners. The fact that Shas and the haredi parties are given exclusive control over Judaism is a major problem."
Dismissing criticism from rightist politicians over being a proponent of the peace talks, Livni said that while an agreement with the Palestinians won't immediately achieve peace, it will pave the way towards it.
"The difference between me and (Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali) Bennett is that I've been there. I've been a part of the negotiations," she said, boasting her foreign policy experience. "This is why my assessment is better."
She further expressed doubt that Netanyahu would ever move forward with the peace process.
"What do we get after four years with Netanyahu?" she pondered. "Stalled talks; a Palestinian state at the UN; and Khaled Mashaal celebrating in Gaza. Netanyahu's policies are harmful for Israel and are leading us towards a bi-national state, or in other words, an Arab state."
Moran Azulay is a Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth correspondent