Livni supporters: Kadima must remain opposition

Shai says it would be ‘inappropriate’ if outgoing leader left party.

MK Tzipi Livni (Kadima) 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
MK Tzipi Livni (Kadima) 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
MKs in outgoing Kadima leader Tzipi Livni’s camp expressed hope that the party would remain united despite the rivalry with primary victor Shaul Mofaz, while warning him to stay loyal to the party’s ideology.
“What will be Kadima’s new identity?” MK Nino Abesadze asked. “The Tzipi versus Shaul race was a question of whether Kadima will remain a real opposition.”
According to MK Nachman Shai, the party will remain united, despite rumors that Livni and her supporters would break off and establish a “new Kadima.”
Shai pointed out that he and several other pro-Livni MKs went to Kadima headquarters in Petah Tikva on Tuesday night to congratulate Mofaz.
“I went to show support, and that I accept the decision of 40- 50,000 [Kadima members],” he explained.
Abesadze said she supported Livni, because as Kadima leader she did not join the coalition at any price, hinting that Mofaz may be an opportunist.
According to Abesadze, Kadima’s advantage is its size, which allows it to be a large, fighting opposition. Its disadvantage, she added, is a lack of unity, which undermined the fighting effort.
“I was convinced that under Livni this could happen, but I think that under Mofaz we can still give credit to the power of Kadima,” Abesadze stated, explaining that the party must take the opportunity to work together and rebuild.
MK Shlomo Molla wished Mofaz luck, sighing, and saying that “democracy is what it is. I am a Kadima man, and I will support Mofaz.”
At the same time, Molla outlined three central demands for Mofaz, all of which the MK called Kadima’s “flagships.”
First, Molla echoed Abesadze’s call for Kadima to be a “real opposition.” The last three years were marred by infighting, “in which Shaul took part,” he said pointedly.
Next, Kadima must work for social equality. According to Molla, this includes working to make haredim (ultra-Orthodox) serve in the army to promote “equality in the burden” and preventing the party’s MKs from submitting “anti-democratic and racist bills.”
As the only Ethiopian MK, Molla said he feels that he is representing a major group in Israeli society, and will not stand for inequality.
Finally, Molla called for religious pluralism and more rights for Conservative and Reform Jewry in Israel. He warned Mofaz not to “serve Shas’ interests.”
“These are Kadima’s flagships,” Molla said. “Mofaz cannot just wave the flags, he must make them come true.”
Molla said Livni has no reason to leave Kadima after her defeat in the primary.
“Livni told me personally that she will fight for what she believes in,” he explained. “From what she has said, I do not think she will leave.”
At the same time, Molla pointed out that Livni got Kadima 28 Knesset seats in the last national election, interpreting that fact to mean that she may get more support from the general public than from within her party.
Mofaz should fight to keep Livni in the party because she has great potential, Molla added.
Shai had a different take on Livni’s loss, saying that Kadima’s outgoing leader would not leave the party because she no longer has the electoral power she once held.
Therefore, he explained, should she leave Kadima to join a party with someone like television personality turned aspiring politician Yair Lapid, she would not be able to “bring a dowry [of voters] with her.”
In addition, leaving Kadima would be politically inappropriate, Shai said, pointing out that “sometimes you are up, sometimes you are down.”
Abesadze chose not to predict what Livni would do, saying that whatever it is, it will follow consideration of what is best for Kadima and the State of Israel.
“Livni is a real fighter, and after this serious battle, she deserves time to rest and make decisions,” Abesadze stated. “After all, she is a human being.”