Kadima faces split, as unity cabinet leaves both winners and losers (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Ophir Bar-Zohar 05/11/12)
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Newly minted Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz said on Thursday that
he had joined Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu´s government to take
advantage of a historic opportunity.
On his Facebook page, Mofaz, chairman of Kadima, wrote: "I am not
indifferent to the sharp criticism raised here and in the media over
the past few days, but this is a historic opportunity for significant
moves for the good of the Israeli public. To my mind, it would be
irresponsible to miss this opportunity. I and I alone take
responsibility, and the outcome will be the test, which I will meet,"
The small number of positions to be given to Kadima are to be
distributed in the coming days. MK Avi Dichter is on the short list
to become chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense
Committee, but he reportedly may pass on this offer wait for another
post to become available in the next few months. Dichter is
considered one of the big winners in Kadima´s move from the
opposition to the coalition. He had declared throughout his election
campaign that Kadima should join the Netanyahu government.
MKs Meir Sheetrit, Ruhama Avraham Balila and Roni Bar-On are expected
to take some of the first ministerial and Knesset committee
chairman´s posts available.
If Dichter does not take the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee,
Yohanan Plesner and Israel Hasson have reportedly also been touted
for the job.
Kadima MKs who belong to former Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni´s camp
say a split in the party seems almost inevitable.
Five MKs are believed to be looking for a way out of the party under
the right circumstances - Shlomo Molla, Orit Zuaretz, Nino Abesadze,
Robert Tiviaev and Majallie Whbee.
Most of this group was not present when the Knesset voted in the
national unity government on Wednesday.
If they can persuade two more lawmakers to join them, they will have
the requisite seven members entitling them to funding as a separate
faction; if the number rises to nine, their faction could lead the
The five are said to be waiting for word from Livni. If she
establishes a new party, which Livni observers say is fairly likely
considering her conduct since she lost the Kadima chairmanship, the
five can be expected to join her.
The conduct of these five MKs could spark numerous crises even before
the new government deals with an alternative to the Tal Law on
widespread exemptions from military service for ultra-Orthodox men,
or with the evacuation of the Ulpana neighborhood in the West Bank
settlement of Beit El, as ordered by the High Court of Justice.
One of these MKs said: "On Sunday MK Miri Regev´s bill on annexation
of settlements is coming up for a vote. Are we supposed to vote for
it? What will be left of our principles?"
The MK added: "What if they want to raise VAT to 17 percent? I won´t
agree to that under any circumstances."
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Kadima Council and one of the party´s
founders, Haim Ramon, announced he was leaving the party. He is
expected to join Livni in founding a new party.
"Kadima is at the end of the road in terms of what it was supposed to
be - an alternative to the government," Ramon said on Thursday. Ramon
said he believed Kadima would disappear into Likud in the next
elections. (© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz 05/11/12)
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