Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz gained more control over his faction on Thursday when his loyalist, Dr Akram Hasson, entered the Knesset in place of Gideon Ezra, who died of lung cancer after smoking heavily for 55 years.

Ezra was a top ally of Tzipi Livni, who could have joined a potential rebellion against Mofaz had he remained in the Knesset. Hasson ran Mofaz's campaign in the Druse sector in both of his Kadima leadership races against Livni.

In a phone interview with The Jerusalem Post, Hasson praised Mofaz and his decision last week to bring Kadima into Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's coalition.

"The Arab parties have made a mistake all these years by staying in the opposition and not joining the coalition where they could better serve their constituency,” Hasson said. “Only Kadima can really help the Druse sector.”

The Knesset now has a record six Druse representatives, with Hasson joining Majallie Whbee (Kadima), Ayoub Kara (Likud), Hamed Amar (Yisrael Beytenu), Shakib Shanan (Independence), and Said Nafa (Balad).

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