Likud official confirms attempt to split Kadima stymied by PM refusing key MKs' demands

Likud official confirms

yaacov edri 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
yaacov edri 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A Likud official close to Kadima split engineer Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz confirmed to The Jerusalem Post Wednesday evening reports that attempts by Likud to drive a larger wedge into Kadima were frustrated when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu refused to accede to key Kadima MKs' demands. But MK Ya'acov Edri (Kadima), fingered as the go-between in the talks, denied that the reports were anything but "pathetic garbage and a crude lie." Channel 2 television reported Wednesday evening that Edri was a pivotal go-between in Likud's attempts to enlist a senior Kadima figure who could serve as a rallying point for other party rebels. Edri allegedly attempted to enlist MK Meir Sheetrit, with the expectation that Sheetrit would receive a key ministerial position. The report also claimed that Edri pressed for his longtime parliamentary aide Orly Yehezkel to receive a director-generalship in a government office. But despite the fact that according to the report, Justice Minister Ya'akov Neeman offered to step down to allow Sheetrit to take his position, Sheetrit insisted that the only position he desired was that of Education Minister. Netanyahu then reportedly replied that he would not remove current Education Minister and Likud number two Gideon Sa'ar from the ministry, and Yehezkel was also not offered any desirable post, and so, according to the report, the deal was "blown up." Likud sources said in addition that Sheetrit sought ceremonial titles as well, such as deputy prime minister. But minutes after the broadcast, Edri blasted the report. "If the Likud offered me a ministry - and they offered me a number of ministries, starting with Ministry of the Negev and Galilee and onward - then I could just appoint Yehezkel to be my director-general, as she was for two years and four months when I was a minister in the previous administration," argued Edri. "Why would I need to demand that she be appointed to a position to which I would be able to appoint her myself if I just took them up on their offer?" Gil Hoffman contributed to this article.