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Livni also managed to make many enemies within Kadima. In one incident caught on camera, Livni repeatedly interrupted Mofaz as he attempted to present his diplomatic plan for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to Kadima lawmakers in November 2009.
“Shaul had worked hard on that plan, going into great details on all the key issues from borders and security arrangement to Jerusalem and meeting with [Palestinian Authority Prime Minister] Salam Fayyad,” said Ronit Tirosh, a Kadima Knesset member aligned with Mofaz.
“Shaul does not know how to work without people, she does not know how to work with them,” Tirosh said, regarding Livni. “She has a deficit in emotional intelligence.”
Before the primaries, fewer than half of Kadima’s Knesset members were openly aligned with Livni.
Tirosh and others within Kadima also attacked Livni for failing to capitalize on last summer’s socioeconomic protests against the high cost of living.
For Asa-El this was proof of Livni’s inability to formulate a coherent domestic policy.
“You can criticize Bibi for his ideas about economics, but he presented a program with a clear worldview,” he said. “Livni utterly failed to join the protests, let alone lead them or even articulate any sort of domestic policy.”
However, Moshe Debby, the head of a public relations firm that advised Livni on strategy, insists that Livni remained more popular than Mofaz until the end, as evidenced by the polls. Rather it was Mofaz’s behind-the-scenes deal-making among Kadima members that clinched him the leadership vote.
“Tzipi was a woman of ideology and values who was concerned primarily with the betterment of the nation,” Debby said. “She did not go to bar mitzvahs and weddings, she did not call people on their birthdays, she did not engage in the internal politics of back scratching. And that’s why she lost.”