Journalist Abesadze to take Hanegbi’s place in Kadima

Georgian-born veteran political correspondent will enter the Knesset as perhaps the faction’s most left-leaning member.

Abesadze 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Abesadze 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Georgian-born journalist Nino Abesadze will enter the Knesset following the suspension of Kadima MK Tzahi Hanegbi, who on Tuesday was found to have lied under oath with criminal intent.
Abesadze, coming from a long and prominent career in Russian-language media, was largely believed to be en route to the parliament in the near future following the widely-anticipated departure of Kadima MK Eli Aflalo, but said Tuesday morning on Israel Radio that her first reaction to the news of Hanegbi’s conviction had been tears of sadness.
Abesadze began working as a journalist at Georgian State Television at the age of 23, and two years later was appointed to serve as the anchor for the station’s evening news program.
After immigrating to Israel 14 years ago, she hosted a Russian-language program on Channel 33 Educational Television. She later switched to print media, serving as the political commentator for the country’s leading Russian-language newspaper.
Like fellow Russian-language journalist MK Yulia Shamolov Berkovich, who replaced Kadima’s Haim Ramon in summer 2009, Abesadze entered the Kadima list in 2008 in one of the four slots reserved for immigrants.
However, she is likely to prove the antithesis to Berkovich, who has staked out a place in the right wing of the centrist Kadima’s Knesset faction on diplomatic issues, and Abesadze will enter the Knesset as perhaps the faction’s most left-leaning member.
The veteran political correspondent also served as the Russian-language coordinator for the dovish Geneva Initiative, an organization more closely associated with former Meretz MK Yossi Beilin than with Kadima. As such, she is considered a shoo-in for party chairwoman Tzipi Livni’s Left- Center faction, as opposed to the faction loyal to MK Shaul Mofaz, who was eager to jump ship for the Likud.