Former prime minister Ariel Sharon’s son Gilad added his name to a list of public figures joining Kadima on Thursday when he revealed his political aspirations in Yediot Aharonot, the newspaper that runs his biweekly column.
Sharon joined former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Jacob Perry, who joined the party Wednesday, and former IDF chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz and northern police commander Alik Ron, who joined the party last month. Except for Perry, all of these new Kadima members have faced high-profile investigations.
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The State Attorney’s Office had recommended an indictment against Ariel Sharon in connection with allegations that businessman David Appel had paid Gilad money to win his father’s help in developing a Greek island when the elder Sharon was foreign minister. Neither Gilad nor Ariel Sharon ended up being indicted.
“Everyone not proven guilty is innocent and therefore worthy of public service,” said Kadima MK Shai Hermesh, who is a family friend and neighbor of the Sharons. “Gilad has leadership skills, is smart and has clear views that would place him in Kadima’s Right flank. He would certainly upgrade the Knesset should he decide to run.”
Sources close to Kadima leader Tzipi Livni welcomed the younger Sharon into the party. They said he had not yet formally submitted a membership form and they were unaware of whether he intended to run for Knesset.
Meanwhile, senior Kadima officials and Labor MK Amir Peretz’s associates vigorously denied a report that Peretz had decided to run with Kadima in the next Knesset election. But many Labor activists loyal to Peretz have already registered dozens of members in Kadima’s membership drive.
Labor MK Eitan Cabel is also reportedly considering shifting to Kadima ahead of the next election, and his loyalists are also registering members in Kadima’s drive.