Several MKs considering calling it quits

Kadima MKs Yizhaki and Breznitz would be replaced by Yohanan Plesner and Shlomo Molla.

knesset plenum 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
knesset plenum 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
At least three MKs have openly admitted that they are strongly considering leaving the Knesset before the winter session begins in October, while others have had private discussions about their future. Kadima MK Shlomo Breznitz, a 71-year-old professor, said on Thursday that he was considering retiring from politics and returning to academia. Breznitz, who is close to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said he had not made a final decision but that he was constantly evaluating how to spend the remaining days of his life. Breznitz could be joined outside politics by his Kadima colleague, MK Avigdor Yitzhaki, whose interest in parliamentary work has waned since he quit his post as coalition chairman. Yitzhaki would be more likely to remain in the Knesset if his nemesis - Olmert - were forced out. Yitzhaki and Breznitz would be replaced in the Knesset by the next two names on the party list, Kadima director-general Yohanan Plesner and World Zionist Organization Zionist Institutions Department head Shlomo Molla. Plesner, a Harvard graduate, has spent the last year creating Kadima's party institutions. Molla, who was born in Ethiopia, criticized Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit's plans to change the Law of Return in a meeting of the Kadima council in Petah Tikva on Thursday. He would be the first Ethiopian MK since Adisu Messele, who served from 1996 to 1999. There could soon be two Ethiopian MKs in the Knesset for the first time. Shas MK David Azulay is expected to be named mayor of the northern haredi community of Harish-Katzir in upcoming months and he would be replaced in the Knesset by the next name on the Shas list, Mazor Bayana. Bayana is the rabbi of the 10,0000 Ethiopian immigrants in Beersheba. He studied at Yeshivat Porat Yosef, one of the most prestigious Sephardi yeshivot in Israel. At least one Pensioners' Party MK is also considering retiring. Another change expected during the Knesset recess is that Labor faction chairman Yoram Marciano intends to quit the post. Marciano, who is a close ally of former Labor chairman Amir Peretz, intends to remain in the Knesset and lead the fight inside his party against new Labor head Ehud Barak. Barak wants Knesset Interior Committee chairman Ophir Paz-Pines to replace Marciano, but he has not decided yet whether to leave his current post. Labor MKs Orit Noked, Colette Avital and Danny Yatom have expressed an interest in replacing Marciano or Paz-Pines. Sheera Claire Frenkel contributed to this report.