Kadima chairman 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.
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
In a phone interview with The Jerusalem Post, Hasson praised Mofaz
and his decision last week to bring Kadima into Prime Minister Binyamin
“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
There are also a record 16 non-Jews in the parliament, who
besides the six Druse are Beduin MK Taleb a-Sanaa (United Arab List-Ta’al),
Christian Hanna Sweid (Hadash) and Arabs Ahmed Tibi, Ibrahim Sarsur and Masud
Gnaim of the UALTa’al, Muhammad Barakei, and Afo Agbaria of Hadash, Jamal
Zahalka and Haneen Zoabi of Balad, and Labor’s Ghaleb Majadle.
born in 1956, served for five years as mayor of Carmel City, a short-lived
merger of his native Daliat al-Carmel and Usfiya, and is president of the Carmel
College. He has also been a high school principal and directed the local
Calling Ezra “a close friend,” Hasson said that even
though he had a lot to contribute to the Knesset, he respected the late
legislator's decision to remain in the parliament and to keep on taking a salary
even though he barely came to work in recent months and missed key
Ezra was noticeably absent from Monday’s vote for the state
comptroller in which Yosef Shapira embarrassingly fell three and then two votes
shy of avoiding another round of voting before getting approved. Labor MK
Binyamin Ben-Eliezer left the hospital to vote, which brought attention to
Kadima's shorthanded faction.
“I respected Gideon and I could not have
asked him to leave,” Hasson said.
The next candidate on the Kadima list
is Ahmed Dabbah of the northern Arab village of Deir el-Asad, who made news when
he brought more than 1,000 Kadima members from the village to vote for Mofaz in
the March 27 primary, more than the votes Mofaz and Livni combined received in
MK Ronit Tirosh, who is close to Mofaz, said that when Kadima
receives additional portfolios in Netanyahu’s government in August, one of the
new ministers should quit the Knesset so Dabbah can enter. He would be Kadima’s
first Arab MK, and the current Knesset’s 17th non-Jew.