MKs call Kadima members 390.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Kadima leadership candidates Tzipi Livni and Shaul Mofaz have been asking
Russian- speaking members of the party to participate in Tuesday’s
Out of some 95,000 Kadima members eligible to vote in the
primary, more than 10,500 are immigrants from the former Soviet
Livni and Mofaz have both campaigned extensively in immigrant
strongholds such as Ashdod and Ashkelon.
MK Marina Solodkin, who supports
Livni, pointed out that a Dahaf Institute poll published on Friday found that
under Livni, Kadima would take two seats away from Israel Beiteinu that the
party would not win with Mofaz at the helm.
“In the last Kadima primary
[in 2008], there was sympathy for Mofaz in my community, but now it is gone,”
Solodkin said. “He was silent on issues that matter to us for three years while
she built up a civil agenda with ideas about drafting a constitution, civil
marriage and requiring IDF service.”
Solodokin predicted that Livni would
win 75 to 80 percent of the Russian-speaking votes in Kadima, just as she won
the backing of four out of the five Russian-speaking Kadima MKs: Solodkin, Nino
Absadze, Robert Tibayev and Orit Zuaretz.
The only Russian-speaking
Kadima MK who backs Mofaz, Yulia Shamalov Berkovich, questioned Solodkin’s
numbers and those of Dahaf.
“That poll is the biggest joke I have heard
recently,” she said.
“Israeli Russian-speakers are right-wing. She took
Kadima as left as possible. There is no chance that Israeli Russianspeakers will
choose Livni over [Israel Beiteinu chairman] Liberman. Only Mofaz, who is a
security man with experience, can really compete for us.”
Berkovich said Russian-speakers were resentful of Livni for being “the worst
immigrant absorption minister Israel ever had.”
“She was born with a
silver spoon in her mouth, so she couldn’t relate to us,” she said.
is no count in Kadima of immigrants from English- speaking countries who are
eligible to vote in the primary.
Two Anglos ran unsuccessfully for
Knesset seats with the party in 2008: Gila Waksman, who was raised in Australia,
and Rumi Zonder- Kislev, who holds a Canadian passport.
An immigrant to
Israel from England, who chose to remain nameless due to the sensitivity of his
profession, said he joined the party a year ago because of its centrist
ideology. He said he would come back to Israel from a trip to England just to
“I’ve always considered voting an important political value,” he
“Kadima may be on its last legs after this election, but I still
think it’s important to register my vote. I’m an unenthusiastic voter, but
voting is important.”
He said he did not believe Livni was a good
opposition leader. But he decided to vote for her anyway because of his disdain
“I can’t vote for Mofaz because I don’t want Kadima to be
Likud lite,” he said. “I don’t like the way he left Likud after saying he would
stay. And I don’t think putting ex-military men at the top of the political
system is a healthy thing.”