PM’s secret weapon: Kadima

Analysis: Had Ulpana bill passed against PM's wishes, could have set in motion process resulting in him leaving Likud.

Ulpana outpost near Beit El 370 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)
Ulpana outpost near Beit El 370 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)
On June 6, 2004, prime minister Ariel Sharon’s cabinet approved his plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, setting in motion a process that resulted in Sharon leaving the Likud Party he led and splitting it in two.
On June 6, 2012, the Knesset voted on an outpost bill that aimed to prevent a withdrawal from the Ulpana neighborhood of the Beit El settlement in the West Bank.
Had the bill passed against the wishes of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, perhaps it could have set in motion a process that could have resulted in Netanyahu leaving the Likud Party he leads and splitting it in two. They talked about Netanyahu following in Sharon’s footsteps and initiating a second “political big bang.” They said he would soon take his favorite Likud MKs and create a new centrist party along with his new friend Shaul Mofaz’s Kadima faction and the Independence Party of his IDF commander turned political ally, Ehud Barak.
Netanyahu silenced those analysts Wednesday when he quashed yet another political rebellion and ensured that the outpost bill would be defeated in a landslide.
He prevented wavering Likud and Habayit Hayehudi ministers and deputies from leaving, keeping his track record of not firing a single cabinet member since he took office in March 2009.
What was supposed to be a rebellion ended up looking like a full-scale surrender to the man who sought to reinforce that he was not only king of his country but also the unchallenged sovereign of all but the extreme rightwing of his own party.
Netanyahu used a new weapon in quashing the Ulpana uprising in his party.
The weapon’s name is Kadima, and it it stronger than the fiercest octopus.
An octopus has eight arms. Kadima has 28 – on most days anyway.
Almost all of those arms are left arms – or at least centrist arms. Netanyahu can use them to pass whatever he wants when he wants to be a moderate.
Those 28 arms balance out the 26 of Shas and Israel Beytenu. The result is that neither set of arms can twist Netanyahu’s.
That allows Netanyahu to govern and not give into political extortion from either side.
He does not need a big bang if he can accomplish his goals without having to fire a shot – or a minister.