Kadima gains six new premier recruits, 12 more on the way
Party acquires first female brig.-gen. in IDF history, former PMO dir.-gen. and American economics professor.
By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon intends to invite at least 12 new candidates to join his Kadima party's Knesset slate over the next week after six new recruits joined the list on Monday, sources close to Sharon said.
With the six new candidates, Kadima now has 33 people on its list, including 19 current MKs, ministers Shaul Mofaz and Tzahi Hanegbi and 12 newcomers. Two new people will reportedly join the party on Tuesday and more on Wednesday before Sharon takes a break from compiling the list for his hospitalization on Thursday.
Sharon wants to have a list of 45 to 50 candidates ready before Thursday, January 12, when the Likud, Shinui and the National Religious Party select their Knesset slates.
The newcomers are Kadima director-general Avigdor Yitzhaki, Tel Aviv University public policy professor Dan Ben-David, Shaare Zedek Hospital deputy director-general Rachel Adato, Brig.-Gen. (res.) Amira Dotan, Tzofim (Israeli scouts) secretary-general Lior Carmel and Ramle Deputy Mayor Liat Rabner.
Yitzhaki, who was the director-general of the Prime Minister's Office in Sharon's first term, reportedly will be Sharon's choice for coalition chairman should he form the next government. Yitzhaki, 56, has degrees in economics and accounting and headed the Small Business Authority and the Standards Institute.
Ben-David, 49, had intended to run for Knesset with Labor but decided against it when Amir Peretz was elected party chairman. He also flirted with Uzi Dayan's Tafnit party before landing in Kadima.
A native Israeli, Ben-David lived in the US with his family from the age of five until 17. After he finished high school, he moved back to Israel to serve in the army and go to college. He returned to Chicago - one of the five places he lived as a child - to earn his doctorate in economics under Nobel Prize winner Robert Lucas. He is also a research fellow at the Centre for Economic Policy Research in London.
"The only reason I am going into politics is that we are going in a dangerous trajectory," Ben-David said. "I wrote a program on how to solve Israel's problems. I looked for the best place to implement it and decided it was with Kadima. We're in a crucial point in the nation's life cycle and serious changes can be made. David Ben-Gurion was our George Washington. Sharon has a chance to be our Abraham Lincoln and save the country."
Adato, a gynecologist, has degrees in medicine, law and business, and has advised health ministers over the past decade on women's health issues. She is the head of the National Council for Women's Health.
Carmel, 39, has degrees in behavioral science and business administration and is working on a degree in public policy at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Dotan, the first female brigadier-general in IDF history, headed the IDF Women's Corps. She was former foreign minister David Levy's spokeswoman, has been involved in conflict resolution projects and headed the Jewish Agency's delegation in North America.
Rabner, 32, is a former chairwoman of World Likud Youth and was 29th on the Likud's Knesset list in 1999, but failed to make the Knesset.
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