Boim and Tirosh endorse Mofaz

Housing minister calls press conference for 10 a.m. Monday; his backing will be seen as major coup for transportation minister.

ronit tirosh 248.88 (photo credit: Channel 2)
ronit tirosh 248.88
(photo credit: Channel 2)
Construction and Housing Minister Ze'ev Boim on Sunday called a press conference for 10 a.m. Monday where he is expected to endorse Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz in the Kadima leadership race. Boim served as deputy defense minister under Mofaz for three years. Both Livni and Mofaz had been vying for Boim's endorsement, so his backing would be seen as a major coup for the Transportation Minister. Nevertheless, both sides refused to confirm who Boim would be endorsing. Most of Kadima's 29 MKs have said that they will reveal whom they support this week. Many lawmakers have used the nine-day mourning period at the beginning of the Jewish month of Av as an excuse to delay their endorsements. Following Sunday's Tisha Be'av fast, several endorsements are expected. So far, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has picked up endorsements from Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On, Environmental Protection Minister Gideon Ezra, Deputy Foreign Minister Majallie Whbee and MKs Yoel Hasson, Shlomo Mula, Amira Dotan and Yitzhak Ben-Yisrael. Mofaz is backed by MK Ze'ev Elkin and 35 mayors. Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit has the support of many mayors, including the chairman of the Union of Local Authorities, Karmiel's Adi Eldar. Public Security Minister Avi Dichter has yet to pick up a key endorsement. Apart from Boim, top Kadima figures who have yet to support a candidate include Vice Premier Haim Ramon, ministers Ya'acov Edri, Eli Aflalo and Ruhama Avraham, and MKs Tzahi Hanegbi, Shai Hermesh, Yohanan Plesner, Menahem Ben-Sasson, Otniel Schneller, Michael Nudelman and Ronit Tirosh. Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik and MK Marina Solodkin are not expected to make any endorsement, the former out of a desire to remain statesmanlike and the latter due to her disenchantment with the party. Some legislators had been waiting for polls they sponsored before they determined whom to support. One such survey, whose sponsor was not revealed, was published over the weekend on the Kadima activist Web site, Yalla Kadima. The Smith Research poll of 1,472 registered Kadima members found that among respondents who said there was a good chance they would vote, 40.4 percent said they supported Livni, 36.5% Mofaz, 14.9% Dichter and 8.5% Sheetrit. Forty percent of the vote is needed for the first-place finisher in the September 17 primary to avoid a run-off race against whoever finishes second that would be held a week later. In weekend interviews with Yediot Aharonot, Livni criticized Mofaz for meeting last week with Shas mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and Mofaz accused Livni's campaign of leaking information to State Comptroller Micha Lindenstraus's office in an effort to persuade Lindenstraus to open an investigation against him before the primary. On diplomatic issues, Mofaz told Yediot columnist Nahum Barnea that he opposed making concessions to Syria and that he believed he could reach an agreement with the Palestinians. "I am a realist, Mofaz said. "I saw all the pursuers of peace running fast but none of them achieved anything. Such eagerness could be a stumbling block." Asked whether a deal reached by him would be similar to the Oslo Accords, Mofaz responded: "God forbid. Anything but Oslo."