MKs in outgoing Kadima leader Tzipi Livni’s camp expressed hope that the party
would remain united despite the rivalry with primary victor Shaul Mofaz, while
warning him to stay loyal to the party’s ideology.
“What will be Kadima’s
new identity?” MK Nino Abesadze asked. “The Tzipi versus Shaul race was a
question of whether Kadima will remain a real opposition.”
MK Nachman Shai, the party will remain united, despite rumors that Livni and her
supporters would break off and establish a “new Kadima.”
Shai pointed out
that he and several other pro-Livni MKs went to Kadima headquarters in Petah
Tikva on Tuesday night to congratulate Mofaz.
“I went to show support,
and that I accept the decision of 40- 50,000 [Kadima members],” he
Abesadze said she supported Livni, because as Kadima leader
she did not join the coalition at any price, hinting that Mofaz may be an
According to Abesadze, Kadima’s advantage is its size, which
allows it to be a large, fighting opposition. Its disadvantage, she added, is a
lack of unity, which undermined the fighting effort.
“I was convinced
that under Livni this could happen, but I think that under Mofaz we can still
give credit to the power of Kadima,” Abesadze stated, explaining that the party
must take the opportunity to work together and rebuild.
MK Shlomo Molla
wished Mofaz luck, sighing, and saying that “democracy is what it is. I am a
Kadima man, and I will support Mofaz.”
At the same time, Molla outlined
three central demands for Mofaz, all of which the MK called Kadima’s
First, Molla echoed Abesadze’s call for Kadima to be a “real
opposition.” The last three years were marred by infighting, “in which Shaul
took part,” he said pointedly.
Next, Kadima must work for social
equality. According to Molla, this includes working to make haredim
(ultra-Orthodox) serve in the army to promote “equality in the burden” and
preventing the party’s MKs from submitting “anti-democratic and racist
As the only Ethiopian MK, Molla said he feels that he is
representing a major group in Israeli society, and will not stand for
Finally, Molla called for religious pluralism and more rights
for Conservative and Reform Jewry in Israel. He warned Mofaz not to “serve Shas’
“These are Kadima’s flagships,” Molla said. “Mofaz cannot
just wave the flags, he must make them come true.”
Molla said Livni has
no reason to leave Kadima after her defeat in the primary.
“Livni told me
personally that she will fight for what she believes in,” he
explained. “From what she has said, I do not think she will
At the same time, Molla pointed out that Livni got Kadima 28
Knesset seats in the last national election, interpreting that fact to mean that
she may get more support from the general public than from within her
Mofaz should fight to keep Livni in the party because she has
great potential, Molla added.
Shai had a different take on Livni’s loss,
saying that Kadima’s outgoing leader would not leave the party because she no
longer has the electoral power she once held.
Therefore, he explained,
should she leave Kadima to join a party with someone like television personality
turned aspiring politician Yair Lapid, she would not be able to “bring a dowry
[of voters] with her.”
In addition, leaving Kadima would be politically
inappropriate, Shai said, pointing out that “sometimes you are up, sometimes you
Abesadze chose not to predict what Livni would do, saying that
whatever it is, it will follow consideration of what is best for Kadima and the
State of Israel.
“Livni is a real fighter, and after this serious battle,
she deserves time to rest and make decisions,” Abesadze stated. “After
all, she is a human being.”