Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni has revealed that she proudly displays a “wanted" picture of herself in her home alongside a similar photograph of her father when he was a militia leader during the pre-state British Mandate period.
Ms Livni, who was given special diplomatic immunity by the UK government in order to prevent her being served an international arrest warrant while in the country, was speaking at an event organised by the JNF in central London.
Recalling her family history, the minister also jokingly confided to the audience that as Justice Minister it was “embarrassing that my parents met while they were robbing a British money train to buy weapons to fight against the British army”.
Ms Livni told her audience: “The first thing I want to emphasise is my parents were freedom fighters and not terrorists. I am not willing to accept any comparison with terrorists like Hamas who are looking for civilians to kill.”
Outside the venue, over 100 pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered to protest against Ms Livni’s appearance, countered by a similar number of pro-Israel supporters. The two sides were separated from each other by police barriers and a busy road.
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan police said that while the demonstrations had been extremely vocal, the evening ended without incident.
Among the protesters were members of the anti-Israel Charedi Neturei Karta group.
One member of the group claimed Israel had “hijacked Jewish identity and put all Jewish people around the world in danger”.
On the pro-Israel side of the demonstration, a Muslim supporter of Israel said that the Jewish state was the only “sane nation in the Middle East”.
Throughout Ms Livni’s hour-long speech, which included a short question-and-answer session, she defended her government’s handling of the latest round of negotiations with the Palestinians, claiming that the peace process had not ended but rather was in a state of “pause”.
Ms Livni also praised US Secretary of State John Kerry, whom she met for talks on the peace process during her stay in London, describing him as a “man who doesn’t take no for answer”.
After the speech, Ismail Khaldi, an Israeli diplomat in London who comes from Israel’s Bedouin Arab community told the JC: “I wish it was me up there. One day I want to become a politician.”