Shaul Mofaz looking left 224.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Rumors regarding Kadima MK Shaul Mofaz's willingness to break away from his party and realign with Likud, the party he left at the last minute during the 2005 Kadima-Likud split, were rampant as ever on Sunday, but Mofaz continued to deny them.
"I will vote against the 'Mofaz bill.' The bill's goal is splitting Kadima, and dealing with it is meaningless. The Prime Minister is trying to split Kadima, and Livni is trying to bring down the government. The concerns of both sides are irrelevant and undemocratic," he said.
Speaking Sunday on Army Radio, Mofaz also slammed Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni. "She's a nice person. It's nice to sit and have coffee with her, but she has no ability whatsoever to make decisions. It's tragic," he said.
Mofaz continued to push his foreign policy, which he is still trying to consolidate, and reiterated that he would like to see a national unity government, with the adoption of a foreign policy platform - presumably his - as a precondition for Kadima joining the coalition.
Meanwhile Sunday, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin hinted he might bring the controversial bill allowing such a split to the Knesset floor as early as this week.
Only a week after bringing the opposition's boycott of Knesset proceedings to a close by promising to delay the votes on a series of controversial bills, including the Mofaz bill, Rivlin indicated Sunday that he may bring the bill back up for a vote in the coming two weeks. Rivlin took heavy flack from fellow Likud members for giving in to opposition demands and delaying the vote.
"The bill proposed is just as legitimate as the bill it would replace, which said a third of any Knesset faction could break off and form their own party," said Environment Minister Gilad Erdan outside Sunday's cabinet meeting.
The new bill would allow seven members to break off from any faction, even if that was still less than one-third of the faction.
Skeptics both in and out of Kadima question whether Mofaz could manage to round up the necessary six additional MKs even if the bill passed.
During the cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said, "I call upon the opposition to give wide support for these principles [recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, a demilitarized Palestinian state, international guarantees for Israel's security, resolution of the Palestinian refugee issue outside of Israel's borders and an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict]. A responsible opposition provides backup, and I expect that the responsible members of the opposition will stand behind these principles."