(photo credit: Courtesy)
Two weeks ahead of the March 27 Kadima leadership primary, sources close to
opposition leader Tzipi Livni and Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee
chairman Shaul Mofaz said the race could be decided by the votes of Arab
More than 23,000 out of Kadima’s 95,000 members eligible to
vote in the race are non- Jews. While there are no exact figures within the
sector, party officials said it is split evenly among Arab Israelis and
Mofaz gained a big boost this week when he received an endorsement
from Kadima’s strongest Arab activist Ahmed Dabah, a confidant of former prime
minister Ariel Sharon who was in an unrealistic slot on the party’s list for the
last two Knessets. Dabah announced his endorsement at a rally with Mofaz in his
Galilee hometown, Deir el- Asad.
Livni’s campaign tried hard to woo
Dabah, who registered thousands of members to Kadima. She tried to
utilize Sharon’s son, former MK Omri Sharon, to put pressure on Dabah, who did
not support a candidate in the last Kadima leadership race.
and Livni are fit to lead,” Dabah said. “I will do everything possible to help
Mofaz win. But unity in the party is important to me and after the race, I will
stay in Kadima and support the winner.”
The head of Livni’s campaign in
the non-Jewish sector, MK Majallie Whbee, downplayed Dabah’s endorsement and
accused Mofaz of foul play.
“Mofaz promised Dabah he would be an MK,”
Whbee said. “Mofaz cares only about getting support from political hacks
and vote contractors who can be bought with promises and political patronage
positions. But this is not a big loss for us. Dabah won’t even be able to
bring Mofaz his own city.”
Whbee said Arab Israelis are attracted to
Kadima because of its values supporting the peace process and
Dabah, who like Whbee got his start in Likud, said it was
important to promote coexistence from within a Zionist party.
candidates are also trying to woo Druse Kadima members. Mofaz had an
event last week in Daliat al-Carmel in the North, a town that boasts the highest
percentage of Kadima members among any municipality’s population.