Hanegbi announces support for Livni

However, Mofaz nearly even with foreign minister in endorsements ahead of Kadima primary election.

tzahi hanegbi  224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
tzahi hanegbi 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Kadima MK and chairman of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tzahi Hanegbi on Wednesday announced his endorsement of Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in the upcoming Kadima primary. Hanegbi initially revealed his decision to support Livni in a meeting with a senior party official this week. Hanegbi met with 25 key supporters in Petah Tikva on Tuesday night and told them that he would announce his decision Wednesday. A Kadima activist who was present at that meeting said that Hanegbi stated he believed that whoever won the race would not be able to form a new government and that elections were coming soon. Such considerations have been used recently by MKs who have endorsed Livni, because polls show that she can bring in the most mandates for the party. However, the notion that Livni held an advantage over Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz among Kadima's politicians while he is stronger among grassroots activists appeared in question on Tuesday when Mofaz nearly pulled even with Livni in endorsements. Mofaz received endorsements on Tuesday from Tourism Minister Ruhama Avraham and MKs Otniel Schneller and David Tal. They joined Construction and Housing Minister Ze'ev Boim and MKs Ronit Tirosh and Ze'ev Elkin, who backed him before. Livni has the support of 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. Avraham met with Livni and Mofaz and informed them of her decision to support the latter before convening her top political allies at Kadima's Petah Tikva headquarters to announce her endorsement. She said she backed Mofaz due to his "socioeconomic sensitivity." Tal released a statement that he preferred Mofaz to be the "nation's captain" because of security and socioeconomic issues. "Mofaz is the most fitting candidate to connect a wide spectrum of Israeli society in solving ideological disputes over war and peace and religion and state," Schneller wrote in a letter to Kadima activists.