Analysis: Kadima’s civil war

The hatred and resentment between Livni, Mofaz have only grown since they last faced off in the 2008 Kadima primary.

MKs call Kadima members 390 (photo credit: Courtesy)
MKs call Kadima members 390
(photo credit: Courtesy)
More than 600,000 Americans lost their lives in the civil war between the North and the South 150 years ago. But the hardest battle occurred afterward when the reunited states of America tried to pick up the pieces and govern together again.
The animosity between Kadima leadership candidates Tzipi Livni and Shaul Mofaz could rival that of the most committed Union and Confederate soldiers.
The hatred and resentment between the two have only grown since they last faced off in the 2008 Kadima primary.
In that race, Livni had the support of the overwhelming majority of the party’s 28 MKs. This time the party is divided nearly in half, with 14 MKs backing Mofaz, 13 supporting Livni and only faction head Dalia Itzik declaring neutrality.
The party is split in two, and it will be very difficult for whoever wins to make it fit together again. A lot will depend on the grace of the loser.
Livni has refused to commit to staying in the party – or even politics – if Mofaz wins. Mofaz has said he would stay. But he said so in the last race as well, and then appeared to quit politics for a few days after he lost.
Both of them are saying what their political strategists have been telling them to say. It is impossible to know what they will really do in the moment of truth.
There are MKs in both camps whose minds are made up. MKs Avi Dichter, Yulia Shamolov Berkovich and Otniel Schneller have all said publicly that they would not stay in a Livni-led party. MKs who back Livni have said privately that they would not want to take orders from Mofaz and would follow Livni if she left.
Despite all the emotions involved, the Kadima race failed to generate too many headlines.
The rocket attacks from Gaza and the potential of war with Iran kept it on inside pages – on days it was in the newspapers at all.
The race was also downplayed due to the party’s poor standing in the polls, Livni and Mofaz’s lack of charisma and the absence of real differences between them on key policy issues.
Perhaps the party will begin to attract more attention on Wednesday when the results are in – and the real battle begins.