Kadima activists: Bar-Lev scandal won't hurt Dichter

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
September 1, 2008 23:14
2 minute read.
dichter 224.88

dichter 248.88. (photo credit: AP [file])

The scandal surrounding Public Security Minister Avi Dichter's firing of Police Southern District Commander Uri Bar-Lev and the ensuing bad press that Dichter has received will not harm his campaign for the Kadima leadership, top Kadima activists said Monday. Dichter was criticized for his handling of the incident on Monday by a consensus of former police commanders, columnists and newspaper editorials. The Jerusalem Post's editorial "Dichter's disgrace" called for him to leave his ministry, and the headline of Ben Caspit's column in Ma'ariv was "Prime minister he will not be." But even Kadima activists who support Dichter's rivals in the September 17 primary, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, agreed with Dichter's supporters that the small amount of support he has in the polls of 8 to 14 percent would not be harmed. "There won't be a big impact on his current supporters," said a Kadima activist who supports Mofaz. "But if there was any chance of him rising before, it's not going to happen now, because this kind of story prevents a positive dynamic from developing." The Mofaz supporter said that if Dichter fares worse on election day than he has in the polls it would not be due to the Bar-Lev scandal but because of the usual rule that at the last minute, supporters of candidates who are far behind decide that they prefer to make an impact with their vote. A Kadima activist who is working on behalf of Livni in the race said the reason he believed Dichter would not be harmed was because the people who support him have met him several times and are passionate enough about him to continue to back him despite bad news and bad polls. "His people are die hard supporters and they love the guy," the Livni backer said. "Unlike in general elections, in primaries, supporters don't fall because of headlines. The Kadima members get to know the candidates pretty well and they become part of the family. People are willing to forgive members of their family." Dichter's supporters said they believed the Bar-Lev scandal could only help him in the primary because of the extensive coverage the story has received and because the incident proved that Dichter was willing to go against the grain, gamble and take on the establishment. "I know that such things don't look good, but it won't impact the race in Kadima," said Roni Sinai, who heads Kadima's Glilot region. "Avi's voters know the man and they know that he is doing the right thing for the country. He is not a politician and his people respect that." Sinai said that Dichter had been through much more stressful situations in the past and proved himself. He said he expected the public at large to eventually understand Dichter's view and thank him, but perhaps not before the primary in two weeks. Kadima launched a new campaign Web site with information on the candidates, on political events and on where the Kadima members can vote. The site includes information submitted by the candidates about themselves and links to Facebook pages created by the four campaigns. The Kadima leadership candidates spent their morning on Monday visiting classrooms on the first day of school. Mofaz visited schools at Moshav Tzofit and Beit Berl near Kfar Saba and told the children that "real Zionism is becoming a teacher and educating future generations." Livni met with students at Tel Aviv's Shevah Mofet high school and told them "not to lose hope due to the politicians."


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