Shaul Mofaz 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Momentum in the Kadima leadership race remained with MK Shaul Mofaz on Wednesday
as MK Ya’acov Edri announced he would back him in the March 27
“Kadima has gone through a difficult period,” Edri
“When things are going in the wrong direction for a team, you fire
the manager. I respect [party leader] Tzipi [Livni], but I think Mofaz can fix
things. No matter who wins, it’s important that when it’s over, we all unite
behind the winner.”
Edri’s endorsement brought the number of Kadima MKs
who back Mofaz up to 12, just one less than incumbent Livni.
Kadima MKs who have not endorsed a candidate are neutral faction head Dalia
Itzik, third candidate Avi Dichter, and MK Meir Sheetrit, who will announce next
week whether he will run, as he did in 2008.
A source who spoke to
Sheetrit received an impression he would stay out of the race and support Mofaz
The source said Sheetrit’s top priority was unseating
Representatives of the three announced candidates met Wednesday
night in an effort to reach compromises on how the primary will be run. They
agreed the party’s election committee would be headed by retired Tel Aviv
Magistrate’s Court judge Edna Beckenstein.
Beckenstein made news six
years ago when she sentenced the son of Kadima’s founder, former prime minister
Ariel Sharon, former MK Omri Sharon, to a nine-month prison term, a nine-month
suspended sentence and a NIS 300,000 fine after he was convicted of violating
political fundraising laws and providing false testimony.
representative at the meeting in which Beckenstein was chosen was new MK Avi
Duan, who was sworn in to the Knesset Wednesday after former MK Eli Aflalo’s
resignation took effect. Duan decided to be statesmanlike on his first day and
did not get into politics in his maiden speech.
Duan said in the speech
this is the “actualization of something Zionist and great,” and becoming an MK
is a dream come true. Duan took advantage of his time at the podium to address
Welfare Minister Moshe Kahlon, who was in the plenum, as a former social
The new Kadima MK said the agreement between the Welfare Ministry
and social workers following their strike last year “slaughtered them,” and the
government must give social workers the tools to help weaker
populations.Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.