Kadima expels hundreds of members

Expelled members also belong to Labor; Livni, Mofaz trade barbs over lack of debate.

Mofaz shakes hands with supporters 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Mofaz shakes hands with supporters 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Kadima leadership candidate Shaul Mofaz praised a decision on Monday by the head of the party’s election committee, Judge Edna Beckenstein, to expel from Kadima 450 people who are also members of Labor.
His spokesman called the move a “giant victory for the Mofaz campaign,” suggesting that they were mostly Livni supporters. Livni’s campaign celebrated similarly when 6,400 Likud members were kicked out of the party a month ago.
Sources close to Mofaz noted that in the last party primary in 2008, Livni narrowly defeated Mofaz by 430 votes. They said that if the March 27 race is close, Beckenstein’s ruling could decide the contest.
A spokesman for Livni said that she had expressed no opposition to kicking out the Labor members, despite allegations to the contrary from Mofaz’s campaign. There still remain some 95,000 Kadima members eligible to vote in the March 27 primary.
The candidates continued their efforts to garner new support on Monday. Livni campaigned at a Tel Aviv gay bar and MK Avi Dichter, who lives in Ashkelon, held a large rally in the South.
In a veiled attack on Mofaz, Livni complained at the bar that some of the besmirched political corruption of the Likud central committee had found its way into Kadima. She challenged Mofaz to a debate.
“I think Kadima voters should know who heads their party and what their views are,” she said. “I never feared being asked tough questions or engaging in debate.”
There has not been a debate between all the candidates running in a major election in Israel since 1996, in part because the perceived front-runner always declined to participate.
Mofaz responded on his Facebook page that Kadima did not need a debate, which he said would further divide the party at a time when unity was more important than ever.
“I am getting ready for the big debate – against Netanyahu,” Mofaz wrote.