Mofaz to focus leadership run on socioeconomic issues

“I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth,” Mofaz tells the crowd during a campaign rally in Yehud.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
February 13, 2012 03:20
2 minute read.
Shaul Mofaz campaign slogan

Shaul Mofaz campaign slogan 390. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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Kadima leadership candidate Shaul Mofaz called for establishing a new socioeconomic agenda for Israel at a campaign rally in Yehud on Sunday night.

Mofaz said a new pact needed to be written between the government and Israeli society that would include bridging gaps between rich and poor and ensuring that all sectors share the burden of military service.

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“I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth,” Mofaz told the crowd. “I worked hard and every goal I set for myself I achieved.”

Mofaz’s strategist Lior Chorev said socioeconomic issues would be the focus of his campaign because everyone was aware of the security credentials of the former IDF chief of general staff.

Emphasizing Mofaz’s poor background as a Persian immigrant raised in Eilat also enables him to differentiate himself from Livni, who is the daughter of an MK and had trouble relating to socioeconomic protesters last summer.

In his speech to a room full of mostly Sephardi men, Mofaz noticeably did not mention Livni at all. Chorev said Mofaz would make a point of not attacking Livni in his campaign.

“Never attack anyone you are going to need the day after the election,” Chorev said.

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In a reference to Livni’s threats against MKs who do not support her, Mofaz said that the day after the March 27 election, Kadima would unite on a new path, and all the forces in the party needed to unite to return hope to the people of Israel.

Ten MKs who support Mofaz spoke prior to him at the event. Even MKs who are Livni’s fiercest critics in the party toned down their usual condemnation of Livni and attacked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu instead.

All of the speakers at the event made a point of referring to Mofaz by his military rank, lieutenant-general.

They frequently compared him to Kadima’s founder, former prime minister Ariel Sharon, and Mofaz’s namesake, King Saul.

Mofaz’s most spirited supporter in the Kadima faction, Ruhama Avraham, called upon Kadima leadership candidate Avi Dichter and potential candidate Meir Sheetrit to back Mofaz instead of running. Mofaz rejected Dichter’s announcement earlier Sunday that he would begin negotiations to enter Netanyahu’s coalition if he won the race.

“Our goal is to replace Netanyahu’s failing government,” Mofaz said. “Kadima is the largest party in Israel and it will stay that way. Most of the public is in the center. We will lead that sane majority.”

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