Kadima's Dichter to quit Knesset for cabinet post

MK will leave his party to replace Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilna’i at request of Netanyahu, Barak.

Avi Dichter 311 AJ (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Avi Dichter 311 AJ
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Kadima MK Avi Dichter will leave the Knesset and join the cabinet at the request of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
Dichter will replace outgoing Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilna’i, who will leave next week for Beijing to be Israel’s next ambassador to China.
Dichter will likely run on the Independence or Likud list in future elections.
Coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) said earlier that splitting Kadima was not an option. Dichter's departure from the party, however, will not constitute a formal split. His seat in Knesset will be filled by Kadima's Ahmed Dabbah.
The Knesset will convene in a special session during its summer recess on Thursday to approve Dichter.
Earlier Monday, former IDF deputy chief of staff Uzi Dayan denied a Channel 2 report that he would replace Vilna’i.
Dayan, who currently heads the Mifal Hapayis national lottery, said he was offered the post but politely declined it.
Ministers Dan Meridor, Bennie Begin, Michael Eitan, and Yossi Peled turned down the job, as did former minister Tzachi Hanegbi.
A source close to Netanyahu had said late on Sunday that the position would be given to a security authority who was not a current minister. Dichter previously served as director of the Shin Bet and public security minister.
Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.