Tzipi Livni is the new hope of the Left. She’s Ashkenazi, educated, vegetarian even, and she speaks in codes that the Left takes pleasure in: Territorial concessions and diplomatic compromise, coupled with the supremacy of the courts.
She is secular enough, not a general, and every rookie leftist feels that with Tzipi Livni one can close a few deals and evacuate a few settlements. She will be everyone’s prime minister, Labor and Meretz voters think to themselves, but we’ll be the ones to show her the way. After all, she is so sane and incorrupt, just like us.
For the very same reasons, rightists instinctively fear Tzipi Livni’s presence in the Prime Minister’s Office. When they see the people who support her and advise her, rightists are horrified. They saw that all the enemies of the settlements, all the Peace Now people, all those who want to see withdrawals, and all the Palestinian-supporting journalists were endorsing Livni in the Kadima primaries. That was the bon-ton.
Now that she won, rightist voters are convinced that all those leftists will be leading her by the nose until she signs, with her own hands, on the borders of the new Palestinian state and removal of the settlements. From now on, the rightists are convinced that those leftists will keep harassing Bibi Netanyahu and won’t allow him to jeopardize their Tzipi. They will not allow their contractor from Kadima to lose the elections.
Self-fulfilling prophecyThis is the hour of instincts, and therefore rightists instinctively object to Tzipi Livni. Just like leftists instinctively prefer Livni over other candidates.
I am not saying that these fears are unfounded. My only concern, when I look into the suspicious and hostile attitude of ideological rightists to the next prime minister, is that it is an automatic attitude. And what’s more problematic: This could be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The endless talk about Livni being a great leftist, the elected president of the leftist tribe, could prompt her to really become completely like that. She could end up moving deep into the supporting and embracing group of a liberal and withdrawal-seeking press on the one end, and the cheering Mahmoud Abbas and the world on the other end.
If the various rightists will stay away from her from the outset, her move to the Left would only be accelerated.
So do the Right and the religious parties have to embrace (metaphorically, metaphorically) Tzipi Livni? I’m not sure. But I’m also not so sure that we need to so quickly show her the same hostility that was justifiably directed at Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert when they changed their views.