Kadima MK Eli Aflalo 311.
(photo credit: Itzik Edri / Kadima Spokesman)
Kadima leader Tzipi Livni announced with great fanfare last week that half of
her party’s 28 MKs had endorsed her in the March 27 party leadership race
against Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Shaul Mofaz, and
more would be joining them soon.
But since then, more and more MKs have
been coming out in favor of Mofaz, who may end up with the support of the
majority of the faction by the end of the week.
Mofaz received a boost
Monday when MK Eli Aflalo tendered his resignation from the Knesset to Speaker
Aflalo, who is the new honorary co-chairman of Keren
Kayemet LeIsrael, will be replaced in the Knesset on Wednesday by Kadima
activist Avi Duan, Mofaz’s campaign manager.
“I’m emotional to leave my
home of nine years,” Aflalo said. “I hope I accomplished my goal of helping the
people of the periphery.”
Duan will join MKs Shai Hermesh, Yisrael
Hasson, Yohanan Plesner, Ruhama Avraham-Balila, Ronit Tirosh, Otniel Schneller,
Yulia Shamolov Berkovich and Arieh Bibi, who back Mofaz. MK Ze’ev Bielski met
with Livni Monday night and told her he would also endorse Mofaz.
respect her a lot and she is a very courageous woman,” Bielski said. “But I see
the situation Kadima is in and we must stop the deterioration.”
said he had been working closely with Mofaz and saw how he makes decisions,
delegates, and works as a team.
“His history as an immigrant who rose to
be IDF chief of General Staff and making life and death decisions is
impressive,” Bielski said. “At this time, Kadima needs a change. I believe Mofaz
can restore Kadima’s former place as the ruling party in the Israeli
MK Ya’acov Edri will meet with Livni Wednesday, the same day
Livni loses an MK to Mofaz when Duan replaces Aflalo.
Edri said Monday
night that he was leaning toward supporting Mofaz, which would make the score
13-12 in her favor.
But MKs Avi Dichter and Meir Sheetrit are expected to
eventually drop their hopes of running themselves and endorse Mofaz, which would
give him a majority. The only MK left in Kadima is faction head Dalia Itzik, who
has fought bitterly with Livni for two years and is seen by Livni’s supporters
as in the Mofaz camp.
One MK who endorsed Mofaz called Livni on Monday “a
cow who we milked too much and now has nothing left to offer us.”
associate downplayed the quantity of her supporters in the faction and said what
really mattered was the quality.
He said the support of Kadima council
chairman Haim Ramon and Kadima house committee head Tzahi Hanegbi was more
critical than that of many MKs.
The Kadima faction officially endorsed
advancing the primary on Monday. The Kadima council will give its final approval