Skeptics in Kadima voice doubts over unity pact

Livni slams deal in terse message on her Facebook page; faction chairwoman Itzik, Molla, Sheetrit express skepticism, anger.

Kadima MK Dalia Itzik 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Kadima MK Dalia Itzik 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Kadima MKs expressed disappointment about the national unity government on Tuesday, saying they are skeptical that party leader Shaul Mofaz and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will reach the goals they set in the coalition agreement.
Former Kadima leader Tzipi Livni slammed the deal in a terse message on her Facebook page. She said “there is such a thing as a different kind of politics, and it will win.”
Kadima faction chairwoman Dalia Itzik, who pushed for a unity deal in the past, expressed skepticism about the agreement moments before signing it. She revealed that her children had urged her not to authorize it.
“I don’t intend to apologize for signing the deal, but I am aware of the voices advising against it,” she said. “I know there are those who say we did it because of the state Kadima is in. We will have to constantly rethink and reevaluate whether our demands are being met. If not, joining the coalition will be a waste of time.”
MK Meir Sheetrit called the last-minute signing of a coalition agreement “a circus,” as the Knesset was on the brink of dissolution, and expressed doubts that the Kadima-Likud partnership would reach the goals it set for itself.
MK Shlomo Molla echoed Itzik and Sheetrit’s statements, saying that the coalition agreement must be “checked with a magnifying glass everyday.”
“All those who support Tzipi Livni’s opinions must fight so the government takes care of civil issues,” Molla stated. “If not, we will go to the opposition.”
He noted that there are clear points in 2012 when the coalition agreement will be tested: The end of July, when an alternative to the “Tal Law” guaranteeing nationwide military service will be passed, and December 31, the deadline in the agreement for changing the system of government.
“If these things are not done, I will not feel committed [to the coalition],” he said.
Molla saved his harshest words for Netanyahu, saying he is pessimistic about the chances of the coalition agreement’s terms being upheld.
“Netanyahu is a known verbal acrobat,” Molla asserted. “I do not believe him. He does not have a lot of credibility when it comes to agreements.”
“I hope I will be proven wrong, but I doubt it,” he added.
MK Otniel Schneller, who has been a strong proponent of joining the government, called the deal “very important, brave and essential for the country.” He said Israel could not deal properly with the Iranian issue, equalizing civil burdens and changing the electoral system without being united in a wide government.
“These issues are a matter of our survival and they require a large majority,” he said.
Kadima MKs privately expressed relief that they would not have to compete immediately over the 10-12 seats polls are forecasting for the party. One MK said that when Mofaz revealed the news that the election was delayed to the faction at a hastily called 2 a.m. meeting Monday night, the MKs broke out in smiles.