Shaul Mofaz at Kadima faction meeting 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
As Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday continued his efforts to keep
Kadima in his coalition, it became apparent the party continues to speak in
multiple voices on the question of whether to stay or go.
Shaul Mofaz convened the party’s faction at the Knesset, briefing the MKs about
his decision to give Netanyahu an ultimatum on accepting the recommendations of
the Keshev Committee on equalizing the burden of IDF service. He then enabled
lawmakers to speak their mind on the matter.
While some MKs, for example
Avi Dichter and Otniel Schneller, were dead set against leaving the coalition,
others such as Shlomo Molla and Majallie Whbee said the party made a mistake by
joining in the first place and should leave as soon as possible.
said there was no need for an ultimatum. Former minister Tzachi Hanegbi
expressed support for Mofaz’s leadership and optimism that a deal could be
worked out with Netanyahu to keep Kadima in the coalition.
you never get 100 percent of what you want,” Hanegbi said after the
“You have to do your best to get whatever you can. We already
achieved a lot. There will now be negotiations, which we should handle smartly
while keeping our cool.”
Kadima faction chairwoman Dalia Itzik said she
did not believe Kadima would leave the coalition. MKs said she spoke
passionately at the closed-door meeting about working to achieve Kadima’s goals
from inside the government.
“Now is the time for a dose of sanity,” Itzik
said. “The question is what is stronger, the grudge or the idea, and I think the
idea is stronger. Despite Netanyahu’s mistakes, we are in the middle of a
historic process, and we cannot miss this opportunity. This is not the time to
go to elections. This is the time to let the politicians reach
Kadima rebel MK Robert Tibaev, who is normally
Netanyahu’s fiercest critic in the party, surprised his colleagues by saying he
did not believe Kadima should leave the coalition over the current
MK Marina Solodkin said she thought that in the end, the entire
faction would end up standing by Mofaz, “because he is acting in the right way
and taking the party in the right direction: Standing up for our principles but
making compromises on what doesn’t really matter.”
Other lawmakers were
more critical of their leader. Molla said he did not understand what Mofaz was
trying to achieve. He predicted that Mofaz would “cave in to Netanyahu” and keep
the party in the coalition.
“Kadima must give the prime minister a clear
ultimatum with a clear timetable for passing a law to equalize the burden based
on the recommendations of the Keshev Committee,” MK Yoel Hasson
“Netanyahu’s behavior over the past few days indicates that he is
not interested in the real change that Kadima so desires.”
further, accusing the prime minister of spitting in Kadima’s face and Mofaz of
thinking it was rain.
“Either we leave the coalition or we are just
playing mindgames with the public,” Whbee said.
Molla, Whbee, Hasson and
other MKs have been rumored to be considering leaving Kadima for a party being
formed by former Kadima council chairman Haim Ramon, which may end up getting
led by former Kadima leader Tzipi Livni. She issued thinly veiled criticism of
Mofaz on Wednesday at a teachers conference in Tel Aviv.
Court created a rare opportunity for real change [by ruling that the ‘Tal Law’
on haredi service must expire on August 1], so we should not be satisfied with a
cosmetic alteration,” Livni said.
“The question is not how to maintain a
political partnership in the government but rather how the people of Israel will
deal with the threats the country is facing.”