Shaul Mofaz 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Kadima leadership candidate Shaul Mofaz earned key endorsements Thursday from
two former supporters of incumbent Tzipi Livni: Former IDF chief of staff
Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz and Keren Kaymet LeIsrael- Jewish National Fund honorary
co-chairman Eli Aflalo.
Both men endorsed her rival, even though Livni
recently gave Aflalo his plum job with KKL-JNF and she brought Halutz into
Kadima as an alternative security figure to Mofaz. An MK close to Livni said the
two of them displayed chutzpah by turning their backs on her.
behavior is absolutely shameful,” the MK said.
“Halutz used Tzipi to
repair his image and enter politics. Aflalo got the best deal in town, a job
with a great salary and benefits. It just goes to show that in politics, there
are no limits.”
That response angered the Mofaz campaign, which had made
a point of not attacking Livni until now. Mofaz strategist Lior Chorev pointed
to a long list of former Livni supporters, including himself, and said it should
give her food for thought.
“Maybe if that many people left she is the
idiot and not them,” Chorev said. “She lost everyone, including me. All she has
left is [her husband] Naftali [Spitzer]. This clearly means she needs to do some
As defense minister, Mofaz appointed Halutz IDF chief of
staff in 2005. But since then they sparred, and Halutz wrote negatively about
Mofaz in a book he published.
A Halutz adviser said his endorsement for
Mofaz was not against Livni and that he was doing what was best for the country
and the party. The adviser said he did not owe his political career to Livni and
that he had more than enough support in the field to stand on his own
Aflalo’s endorsement carries weight because he signed up thousands
of Kadima members in the north and south. Livni tried hard to win his
endorsement, but he was angry about what he saw as past attempts by her to harm
him politically. Aflalo also did not take it well when she included him on a
list of her supporters on the day she initiated the March 27
Livni’s associates said Aflalo’s supporters were split between
her and Mofaz and that they no longer followed his dictates. They also
downplayed support in the party for Halutz.
The next battle in Kadima is
expected to take place next week when the party officially announces how many
Likud members will be expelled from Kadima for breaking the law that bars being
a member of more than one party.
Sources in the Livni camp said 6,400
Likud members would be expelled in what they called a huge blow to Mofaz. A
spokesman for the Mofaz campaign said the number would be much lower and the
activists expelled would be evenly divided among Mofaz-backers and Likudniks
brought into Kadima by Livni supporters Tzahi Hanegebi and Omri Sharon.