Kadima has already taken enough votes away from the Likud
and now it is time to target Labor voters
, strategist Eyal Arad
told Kadima ministers in a meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem Monday morning.
The forum of Kadima ministers convened for the first time to discuss the party's preparations for the March 28 election and to formally decide not to try to pass the 2006 state budget before then.
Arad outlined Kadima's strategy for the next few weeks.
"We don't care about what's left of the Likud
," he said. "Labor is our big enemy now. We need to focus on Labor and tell Labor voters that we are offering better diplomatic and economic plans than Labor."
Arad said Kadima needed to criticize Labor chairman Amir Peretz for announcing in a meeting with ambassadors on Thursday that he opposed the internationally brokered road map plan. Peretz said in the meeting at the home of the British ambassador that he believed he could reach a peace deal with Palestinian Authority
Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
within a year.
"Peretz has taken Labor way too far to the left," Arad said. "This is the time to increase our pressure on him."
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz
, who on Sunday became the latest politician to shift from the Likud to Kadima, attended the ministerial meeting and Kadima's faction meeting later in the day at the Knesset.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
promised the ministers he would find room for all of them in his cabinet if he is reelected. The ministers had expressed concern after Mofaz joined Kadima, which already had 15 people who believe they should be ministers.
"I promise you that no one will be slighted," Sharon said. "There will be enough positions for all of you."
The latest addition to Kadima is Ethiopian immigrant Shlomo Mula, who formally joined the party after a meeting with Sharon on Monday. He took a leave of absence from his position at the Jewish Agency
, where he was in charge of Ethiopian absorption.
Mula, 39, a 15-year veteran of the Agency, has degrees in law and social work. He made aliya in 1984 and ran for the Knesset unsuccessfully with Yisrael Ba'aliya in 1999.
If elected, Mula would be the second Ethiopian-immigrant MK. Adisu Messele was a Labor MK from 1996 to 1999.