You guys won't believe who the last speaker is....A lot of editorial comments from me in this one.
The final guest is being introduced by a lady who tried - and failed - to push through a resolution condemning Israel's plans to deport the children of illegal immigrants (and hopefully their parents with them - yes we have that problem here too). And she just said that she doesn't believe she would have been asked to introduce her if Tzipi Livni were not a woman. The woman introducing her is the Vice President of WJC and President of WIZO. She says that they all hoped Livni would be Prime Minister because she's a woman (wasn't Golda Meir a woman?).
Livni gets up to speak.... She's the first one at this conference to have a security guard stand behind her the whole time. The guy looks like the guy who accompanies Justice Minister Yaakov Ne'eman to the Torah class at which I often see him, but the guard is much less obtrusive there.
She refers to horrific terror attack near Hebron last night. Today and tomorrow are direct talks with 'Palestinians' relaunching process she led as foreign minister.
Livni says we need to redefine what Israel means as a homeland for the Jewish people (remember Brand Israel?). She says we need to keep Jewish and democratic values, but most people don't know what a democratic state means and no one knows what a Jewish state means. She says that Israeli society has two different groups - one becomes more Israeli feeling deeply connected to the State speaking Hebrew and serving in the army. On the other side you find the ultra-Orthodox. In case you had any doubt whom she's after.... Don't tell her there are pro-Israel ultra-Orthodox bloggers....
On the third hand Jewish communities abroad are connected to the community but less connected to Israel. She sounds like Peter Beinart. If only the connection to being Jewish were as strong as she says it is. She wants the people abroad to have the same values as in Israel and the same feeling for Israel that Israelis have (I'm not sure that you can have the same feeling for Israel if you never or rarely visit here - kind of hard to explain to people who have never lived here. It can be intense but it's different). She doesn't want the relationship to be based on whether you make aliya.
Israel being seen through distorted lens of conflict with 'Palestinians' and not for what it is. Views being shaped by situation in the region. We see ourselves as David and Arabs as Goliath but from Google Earth point of view, we are Goliath and 'Palestinians' are David. She believes that there are certain things we can do and hasbara is not a replacement for a policy. She sets out two-state vision and that we have to decide what a Jewish state is - not about religion but about tradition. National but not religious even though partially connected.
Then we need to accept two states for two people. Not a favor for the 'Palestinians,' a gift for the Arab world or for Obama. She says she believes in our rights over the entire land but for our sake we have to give up part of land. You all know I don't buy this....
Hamas has nothing to say because they don't accept Israel's right to exist. Me: Does Abbas?
We need to make two states so Tzipi can be proud to be a citizen. Sounds like Michelle Obama. Next year needs to be a year of decision making.
Question and answer session: First person asks about Fayyad's 'condemnation' of last night's attack. Asks if she would join government.
Second questioner asks if she would agree change electoral system. (Apparently all questions to be answered at the end).
Dan Diker asks her about the disfunctionality of the 'Palestinians' - should we act unilaterally.
Answers: She claims she went to elections because Shas wanted her to stop the peace process.
She claims that an agreement is needed but it's feasible.
She claims it was Bibi's choice who was in the government and that he wouldn't concede anything to the ultra-Orthodox. We need to get 'our liberal views' into these matters. She said she told him she had to know that Bibi is willing to come to an agreement. At the end of the day, it was Bibi's choice who was in the government. She claims that only she supports negotiations and wished him luck - government ministers didn't. Tough being in opposition isn't it?
She says easiest thing is to enter into blame game and that she's a 'tough negotiator' (1701?).
Ron Lauder says she was wonderful - huh?
That's all from here. Off to make it to shul for Mincha services.