Bar-On appointment quashes anti-Mofaz efforts (JERUSALEM POST) By GIL HOFFMAN 05/15/12)
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Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz took the wind out of the sails of his
critics in Kadima on Monday when he appointed MK Ronnie Bar-On, who
was his predecessor Tzipi Livni’s top backer, as chairman of the
Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Mofaz’s opponents in the faction had hoped to draft Bar-On to head
They saw him as their candidate for opposition leader if they would
split with nine MKs and surpass Labor as the largest opposition
Bar-On will replace Mofaz, who gave up the committee to become
opposition leader and now vice premier. Bar-On had to give up his
post as chairman of the State Control Committee, because the
committee must be led by an opposition MK.
There had been speculation that Mofaz would give the Foreign Affairs
and Defense Committee chairmanship to MK Avi Dichter, who is a former
Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief and has been active in the
committee. But Dichter turned down the post in hopes of being
appointed a minister when Kadima is expected to receive portfolios in
Kadima will also be given the chairmanship of the Economic Affairs
Committee later this month. The main candidates for the post include
MKs Meir Sheetrit and Ruhama Avraham-Balila, but both may decide in
the end to hold out for a portfolio.
One option for Mofaz is to insist that whoever becomes a minister
quits the Knesset in order to allow new MKs on the Kadima list to
enter. The next two Kadima candidates on the list are both strong
Mofaz supporters, Druse activist Akram Hasoon and the strongman in
Kadima’s Arab sector, Ahmed Dabbah of Deir el-Asad.
While it looked like Kadima would also receive the Immigration
Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee as part of the coalition
deal, it became apparent Monday that the party will instead elect to
keep the Science and Technology Committee, which is headed by MK
Ronit Tirosh, a longtime Mofaz supporter.
In another step to prevent a rebellion in Kadima, the Knesset will
vote as early as Wednesday on a bill that would increase the number
of Kadima MKs needed to break off from the faction from seven to 10.
Several MKs criticized Mofaz for advancing the bill in Monday’s
Kadima faction meeting.
“We look like we are not a serious party when we propose bills like
these,” MK Yoel Hasson said. “We look like we can’t stop making
Yisrael Beytenu decided Monday to oppose the bill, making it
increasingly unlikely that the legislation will pass.
“Our party will not participate in this attempt to make a mockery of
the Knesset,” a Yisrael Beytenu spokesman said. (© 1995-2011, The
Jerusalem Post 05/15/12)
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