Livni supporters: Kadima must remain opposition (JERUSALEM POST) By LAHAV HARKOV 03/29/12)
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MKs in outgoing Kadima leader Tzipi Livni’s camp expressed hope that
the party would remain united despite the rivalry with primary victor
Shaul Mofaz, while warning him to stay loyal to the party’s ideology.
“What will be Kadima’s new identity?” MK Nino Abesadze asked. “The
Tzipi versus Shaul race was a question of whether Kadima will remain
a real opposition.”
According to MK Nachman Shai, the party will remain united, despite
rumors that Livni and her supporters would break off and establish
a “new Kadima.”
Shai pointed out that he and several other pro-Livni MKs went to
Kadima headquarters in Petah Tikva on Tuesday night to congratulate
“I went to show support, and that I accept the decision of 40- 50,000
[Kadima members],” he explained.
Abesadze said she supported Livni, because as Kadima leader she did
not join the coalition at any price, hinting that Mofaz may be an
According to Abesadze, Kadima’s advantage is its size, which allows
it to be a large, fighting opposition. Its disadvantage, she added,
is a lack of unity, which undermined the fighting effort.
“I was convinced that under Livni this could happen, but I think that
under Mofaz we can still give credit to the power of Kadima,”
Abesadze stated, explaining that the party must take the opportunity
to work together and rebuild.
MK Shlomo Molla wished Mofaz luck, sighing, and saying
that “democracy is what it is. I am a Kadima man, and I will support
At the same time, Molla outlined three central demands for Mofaz, all
of which the MK called Kadima’s “flagships.”
First, Molla echoed Abesadze’s call for Kadima to be a “real
opposition.” The last three years were marred by infighting, “in
which Shaul took part,” he said pointedly.
Next, Kadima must work for social equality. According to Molla, this
includes working to make haredim (ultra-Orthodox) serve in the army
to promote “equality in the burden” and preventing the party’s MKs
from submitting “anti-democratic and racist bills.”
As the only Ethiopian MK, Molla said he feels that he is representing
a major group in Israeli society, and will not stand for inequality.
Finally, Molla called for religious pluralism and more rights for
Conservative and Reform Jewry in Israel. He warned Mofaz not
to “serve Shas’ interests.”
“These are Kadima’s flagships,” Molla said. “Mofaz cannot just wave
the flags, he must make them come true.”
Molla said Livni has no reason to leave Kadima after her defeat in
“Livni told me personally that she will fight for what she believes
in,” he explained. “From what she has said, I do not think she will
At the same time, Molla pointed out that Livni got Kadima 28 Knesset
seats in the last national election, interpreting that fact to mean
that she may get more support from the general public than from
within her party.
Mofaz should fight to keep Livni in the party because she has great
potential, Molla added.
Shai had a different take on Livni’s loss, saying that Kadima’s
outgoing leader would not leave the party because she no longer has
the electoral power she once held.
Therefore, he explained, should she leave Kadima to join a party with
someone like television personality turned aspiring politician Yair
Lapid, she would not be able to “bring a dowry [of voters] with her.”
In addition, leaving Kadima would be politically inappropriate, Shai
said, pointing out that “sometimes you are up, sometimes you are
Abesadze chose not to predict what Livni would do, saying that
whatever it is, it will follow consideration of what is best for
Kadima and the State of Israel.
“Livni is a real fighter, and after this serious battle, she deserves
time to rest and make decisions,” Abesadze stated. “After all, she is
a human being.” (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 03/29/12)
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