Mofaz speaks at Knesset 370.
(photo credit: Knesset Spokesman)
New Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz intended to illustrate party unity when he
convened the Kadima faction at the Knesset on Monday for the first time since he
won last Tuesday’s leadership primary.
But the meeting revealed internal
divides that are expected to be exacerbated by the first decisions he makes as
head of the party following the Passover holiday. Former Kadima leader Tzipi
Livni did not attend the meeting and Mofaz did not mention her in his speech to
the MKs, but several mentioned her and called on her to stay in the
“I am on vacation, sweetheart,” Livni told a reporter camped
outside her Tel Aviv home.
MK Shlomo Molla complained about the hatred
displayed for Livni by MKs who had backed Mofaz. He accused his colleagues in
the faction of conspiring with the Likud against her.
contribution to the party cannot be underestimated,” Molla said. “I hope she
will stay with us. If not, it would be a big loss.”
MK Marina Solodkin
reminded Mofaz that “Livni won the party 28 seats.”
She said he should
not forget the party’s diplomatic and civil agenda.
Other MKs took turns
praising Mofaz and wishing him well. Mofaz received his nicest compliments from
the three MKs competing over the chairmanship of the influential Knesset
Economics committee, which Mofaz told the faction he would formally request from
MKs Meir Sheetrit, Ruhama Avraham- Balila and Ronit Tirosh have
all told Mofaz in private conversations that they are seeking the post. Those he
does not choose could hold it against him and make his job more
“My guess is that he will give me the committee,” Sheetrit
said, noting that he had led the fight in Kadima against trading it for the
Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee for the first two-thirds of the Knesset’s
term. “It was a big mistake to give up the Economics Committee.”
Avraham and Tirosh said they should be given the committee due to their years of
support for Mofaz. Tirosh sat next to Mofaz in the faction meeting at his
Mofaz’s associates said they did not know when he would decide
who would head the committee. But they said he was in no hurry and that he was
still relishing his victory.
“There were those who eulogized us and said
we would come apart, but we are not going anywhere,” Mofaz told the MKs. “There
will be no negotiations to join the government. I am keen on replacing Netanyahu
and I don’t intend to enter his government, period. We will be a fighting