Dan Halutz, Eli Aflalo defect to Mofaz

Livni camp accuses former supporters of "chutzpah" for supporting rival in Kadima primary.

February 23, 2012 18:52
2 minute read.
Kadima MK Shaul Mofaz

Shaul Mofaz 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)


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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.

“Their 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 soul searching.”

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 feet.

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 election.

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.

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