(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Kadima reached 100,000 members on Friday, the last day people could join the
party without having to pay a membership fee, the Kadima activist website Yalla
Kadima reported Saturday night.
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The Kadima council decided 10 days ago to
end a practice whereby members only had to pay a one-time registration fee of
NIS 50. Anyone who joined by Friday’s December 31 deadline was grandfathered
into the old rule, but whoever joins from January 1 onward will have to pay an
annual membership fee.
Some 20,000 new members joined the party in the
last days of the old rule.
Activists loyal to Kadima leader Tzipi Livni
and her rival, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Shaul
Mofaz, both claimed victory in the membership drive.
Sources close to
Mofaz claimed they signed up 8,000 members, but pro-Livni activists denied that
Members have to be in the party for 13 months before they are
allowed to vote for the leadership of the party and its Knesset
The only former Kadima leadership candidate who did not make an
effort to submit forms ahead of Friday’s deadline was MK Meir Sheetrit, who
advocated requiring all Kadima members to pay an obligatory membership fee and
opposed grandfathering in veteran members.
Sheetrit said he still hoped
to change the decision in a future Kadima council meeting.
He said he
stood by a quote he gave to Haaretz last weekend in which he complained that
Kadima, whose founders said they formed it in order to clean up Israeli
politics, was now “more corrupt than the Likud.”