Kadima MK Dalia Itzik 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Kadima entered Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s national-unity government three months ago in an effort to prevent the party from facing an electoral trouncing, Kadima faction chairwoman Dalia Itzik admitted in a recent speech to party activists in Rishon Lezion.
A tape of the closed-door speech, revealed by Makor Rishon political correspondent Ze’ev Kam, found that Itzik, who has maintained neutrality from political infighting inside Kadima, had spoken negatively about party leader Shaul Mofaz in closed conversations.
Itzik revealed that she did not know until the last minute that Mofaz had negotiated the formation of a unity government.
She said she embarrassed herself by attacking the government on the radio half an hour before she joined it because Mofaz had kept her in the dark.
“I knew that [joining the government] would pass unanimously because we didn’t have a choice,” Itzik told the activists. “With the way things were at the time, we would have crashed. Most of us voted [to join] just to stall for time. At least I did. Why? Because the alternative outside was almost political death. I thought, with a year of political quiet anything can happen. Maybe we can recover, maybe we can get some things accomplished.”
Itzik said that leaving the government, which she referred to as “the divorce,” had been a mistake, as was holding a vote on the party’s departure. She said she had begged Mofaz to refrain from both moves but he did not listen to her.
“You and Tzipi destroyed each other for three years and killed us,” she said she told him. “We paid the price. He insisted on a vote. I knew on the day of the vote the deterioration of Kadima would begin.
I told an MK, ‘Listen, today Kadima has split.’” Days after, MKs on Kadima’s Right and Left flanks were revealed to be negotiating a split to the party, and former Kadima minister Tzahi Hanegbi formally returned to the Likud.
Itzik also criticized Mofaz for his handling of negotiations on how to solve the problem of equalizing the burden of IDF service.
“I think the strategy should have been different,” Itzik said.
“Mofaz should have admitted that problems that haven’t been dealt with in 64 years can’t be fixed in one fell swoop. We won’t get 100 percent of what we want, but why give on the 60% that we did get? I told him not to give up on this historic opportunity, but he didn’t accept my advice.”
Mofaz and figures close to him declined to respond to Itzik’s comments. When the party chairman and MK Ronnie Bar-On were approached by two reporters in the Knesset cafeteria, Mofaz responded with humor but Bar-On with rage.
In an unprecedented step, Bar-On asked Mofaz’s bodyguard to physically distance reporters from Mofaz and stop them from asking him questions.