Avi Dichter 311 AJ.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Kadima leadership candidate Avi Dichter differentiated himself from his
competition on Sunday when he announced he would bring the party into Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s coalition immediately if he wins the March 27
Incumbent Kadima leader Tzipi Livni and her primary challenger,
Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Shaul Mofaz, have both
said that if elected they would do everything they can to topple Netanyahu’s
government. Dichter, who trails both of them, could use time in the
government as a senior minister to build himself up politically.
running because I see supreme importance in Kadima entering the coalition as
soon as possible,” Dichter said in a press conference at the party’s
headquarters in Petah Tikva. “Only under my leadership can this happen
immediately after the primary. After my victory on March 27, I intend to
immediately begin intensive coalition negotiations with Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu to determine how we can join so we can impact central
Dichter said that due to what he called a “strategic mistake” by
Livni, Kadima wasted three valuable years not contributing to the state. He said
that even though Kadima controlled nearly a quarter of the Knesset with its 28
seats, its influence on the government was zero, while smaller parties
contributed dramatically on issues that matter to Kadima.
He said he did
not believe Netanyahu’s government would fall within the next year and suggested
that the next election could end up being held on time in October
“With 28 seats, we have the possibility and the ethical obligation
to influence the Israeli reality now...” Dichter said. “We should not
wait a year and a half until the next election. We should have influence
now. Israel needs Kadima in the coalition now. The largest party in the
Knesset remaining in the opposition is cynical and dangerous. It displays a lack
of national responsibility.”
Dichter said his conditions for joining the
government would be beginning a diplomatic process, changing the political
system, replacing the Tal Law with more equality in sharing the burden of IDF
service, and doing more to bridge societal gaps. He mocked his opponents who
believe they will form the next government.
When Livni initiated the race
last month, Dichter said if she won he would leave the party. He toned down his
promise on Sunday and said that if Livni came out on top, he would have to
consider his future, but he would not leave Kadima or quit politics.
don’t understand how Kadima deteriorated so low so fast,” he said. “She
is responsible. My criticism is professional, not personal. We are not 28 sheep
who can be led by the nose.”
In the last Kadima race in 2008, Dichter
received only 6.5 percent of the vote, finishing fourth behind Livni, Mofaz, and
MK Meir Sheetrit. Dichter said he had learned lessons from the last race that
would help him win this time.
Sheetrit has twice delayed deciding whether
to run. He said Sunday he would make a decision by the end of the
The last day candidates can legally decide to enter the race is