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Israeli candidates offer shallow slogans on security

The escalation on Israel's northern border should have driven Israeli politicians to explain their specific security approaches, but most of them chose to repeat the usual deterrence slogans, without any reference to other diplomatic options.
Issac Herzog (L), leader of Israel's Labour party, and former Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni shake hands after their joint news conference in Tel Aviv December 10, 2014. Livni and the center-left parliamentary opposition leader formed a joint election ticket on Wednesday that polls show could pose a serious challenge to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in March.  REUTERS/Stringer (ISRAEL - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS) - RTR4HICW
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Just one day after Hezbollah’s deadly attack on an Israel Defense Forces patrol on Mount Dov, Tzipi Livni, the No. 2 candidate for the Zionist Camp list, appeared on Israeli news site Ynet studios and with a stern face told viewers that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had harmed Israel’s power of deterrence. She went on to claim that his poor relations with the Barack Obama administration is costing Israel in terms of security.

This is, of course, a legitimate and justifiable position, even for someone who sat, until just two months ago, in the Security Cabinet of that same Netanyahu. Now, however, Livni is in the No. 2 slot in a rival party that seeks to run the country. It is therefore only fitting that she would publicly hone the security worldview differences between the Zionist Camp and Likud. Instead of doing that, however, she fell back on the same easy rhetoric that she used against Netanyahu from 2008 to 2013, when she was chair of the Kadima Party, the opposition, and later of the Hatnua Party. In this rhetoric, Netanyahu is presented as posing a danger to the security of Israel. Livni is a good campaigner, a credible and intelligent interview subject and an experienced politician. In the past few weeks, she has even been mentioned as a seemly candidate for defense minister. That is why anyone who expected to listen to this interview and learn what makes the security position held by her and her colleagues in the Zionist Camp any different from that of Netanyahu, or of current Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, would walk away feeling disappointed. With all due respect, personal attacks do not make up a worldview.

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