By Lucky Gold, CNN
Syria’s bloody civil war represents a security threat to many nations in the region; none more so than its neighbor, Israel.
Tzipi Livni, former Israeli Foreign Minister and former leader of the centrist Kadima Party, didn’t mince words when describing the international community’s response to the Syrian crisis when speaking with Christiane Amanpour Tuesday:
“The fact that the international community is quite, excuse me, impotent on this issue sent a very sad and problematic message to the region. Because the international community is being watched by extremists in the region. It’s not only inside Syria, it’s by Iran, by other radical elements, by Hezbollah, by Hamas.”
And speaking of Iran, she did not shy away from Israel’s threat of a military strike on Iran’s nuclear program: “Iran needs to know that all the options are on the table. As the world needs to understand it’s not only an Israeli problem. When I was foreign minister. I heard about the Iranian threat in Arabic even more than in Hebrew or in English.”
A Jewish state means something from a national perspective, not a religious one
Meantime, a different kind of war is taking place inside Israel – between the growing numbers of ultra-orthodox and those favoring a secular state. When she resigned from the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in May, Ms. Livni said, “I don’t regret not selling the state to the ultra-orthodox.”
She reiterated to Amanpour, her belief that the ultra-orthodox “have now more power than they should. And in a way, the Likud party and other parties gave them a monopoly on the state of Israel.”
Pointing to the leader of the Likud party, Israel’s Prime Minister, she added: “Netanyahu said himself that for him politically the ultra-orthodox are his natural partners. And I believe that the raison d’etre of the state of Israel is to be the homeland of the Jewish People. So for me being a Jewish state means something from a national perspective, not a religious one.”
Not for the sake of the Palestinians, for the sake of Israel
In light of Mitt Romney’s recent visit to Israel and his comments lauding Jewish culture, she said, “I am quite proud of the achievements of the state of Israel. In a way Israel is truly a miracle in the Middle East; but listen, it’s also part of the reality that the Palestinians don’t have their own state now and they’re under unfortunately an ongoing occupation since ‘67 that must be ended, not for the sake of the Palestinians, for the sake of Israel, by the way.”
Still, she derided using Israel as a political football in the American elections: “The relations between Israel and the US were (always) bipartisan, this is the way it should be. And the idea of the state of Israel being part of the agenda in the elections in the United States is wrong.”
CNN’s Ken Olshansky produced this piece for television.