Former Shin-Bet chief Avi Dichter will not make any announcements about his political future until he returns from Washington in two weeks, Dichter told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday from the US.
Dichter is considered Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's top recruit to Kadima among security men. Sharon is counting on Dichter to give the party the legitimacy of a well-respected authority on fighting terrorism.
Sharon's associates have said that Dichter had already agreed to join the party and that he would be in one of the top five slots on the Kadima list. But Dichter said he intended to refrain from political activity until after he finishes a three-month fellowship at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institute, a DC think tank.
The minute I land in Israel, everything will be clear and everyone will know," Dichter said. "I am not saying anything political while I am in the US."
Dichter said he met with Sharon in New York in September and with Labor chairman Amir Peretz and other top politicians in Israel in the summer. But he said he would be deciding his political future on his own.
"The only one who can take me from one place to another is my Mom," he said.
At the Saban Center, Dichter has been lecturing, giving symposiums and writing papers, including a major project on developing a comprehensive system to fight terrorists in Israel and around the world.
After Monday's terrorist attack in Netanya, Peretz convened a room full of generals, admirals and police commanders to emphasize that his party is full of security men. Until Dichter comes, Sharon has only himself and Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra, a former deputy head of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).
More than 10,000 people have joined Kadima over the past three days, most of them through the Internet.
The next addition to Kadima's Knesset slate is expected to be Shlomo Mula, an Ethiopian immigrant who is in charge of Ethiopian absorption at the Jewish Agency. A 15-year veteran of the Agency, Mula, 39, has degrees in law and social work. He made aliyah in 1984 and ran for Knesset unsuccessfully with Yisrael Ba'aliya in 1999.
Mula has asked the Agency to suspend him so he can enter politics. He has met with Immigrant Absorption Minister Tzipi Livni about joining Kadima, but a meeting with Sharon was postponed due to the Netanya attack.
If elected, Mula would be Israel's second-ever Ethiopian-immigrant MK. Adisu Messele served in the Knesset from 1996 to 1999 in Labor. He ran for Knesset in 2003 with Peretz's Am Ehad party and missed getting elected by only a few dozen votes. Messele is running for Knesset with Labor again now and Peretz has promised him that he would be a minister in a Labor-led government even if he is not elected.
"I think I am the authentic representative of Ethiopian immigrants," Mula said. "I want to work in education and social affairs to help the immigrants. I support Sharon's agenda of leaving settlements and investing in development towns. I don't intend to be a decoration in a party, I want to contribute."
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