Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman MK Shaul Mofaz defeated
MK Tzipi Livni in Tuesday’s Kadima leadership race by an even larger percentage
than early results indicated, according to official numbers released by Kadima
Mofaz received 24,780 votes, comprising 61.89 percent of
the 40,399 votes cast. Livni received 14,857 votes, which was 37.11%. One
percent of the total, or 401 votes, were abstentions. The turnout was only
Voting did not strictly follow socioeconomic and ethnic lines.
While it was expected that Mofaz would win in the Arab sector and in development
towns, he also won in Ashkenazi strongholds like Shoham and
But it was the Arab sector that gave Mofaz his most convincing
victories. In the northern town Deir-el-Assad, where his supporter Ahmed Dabah
is a former mayor, Mofaz received 1121 votes and Livni only 132. In the
northern Arab city Shafaram, Mofaz received 361 votes and Livni just
Livni easily defeated Mofaz in Tel Aviv, 799 to 313. She also beat
him in Beit Shemesh. Mofaz narrowly won Jerusalem.
started coming in indicating the extent of Mofaz’s victory, Kadima MKs started
streaming into the party’s Petah Tikva headquarters. The MKs who
supported Mofaz were exuberant in joy. Only some of the MKs who backed
Livni showed up.
During his victory speech at 2 a.m., Mofaz made a point
of calling up to the stage the MKs and party officials who supported Livni,
singling out the head of Kadima’s House Committee, former minister Tzahi
“From tonight, Kadima is one,” Mofaz told the
crowd. “Kadima, which is the Knesset’s largest party, will lead the
opposition and renew the hope of a majority of Israel’s citizens for a different
path. Kadima is the guarantee that our hope is not lost and that for that hope
there is a clear political alternative.”
Mofaz vowed to do everything
possible to bring down the government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu,
which he said had failed. He called upon Livni to join him and the rest of
Kadima in that effort.
“Tzipi, your place is with us,” he
Mofaz promised to work toward a new socioeconomic agenda, and to
get all Israelis to serve in the army. The latter comment caused several haredim
in the crowd to leave the room.
He vowed to do all he could to be worthy
of the support he had been given.