Hanegbi´s Likud homecoming (ISRAEL HAYOM) Mati Tuchfeld and Israel Hayom Staff 07/24/12)
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He was a member of the Likud for almost 20 years, until he followed
Sharon to Kadima • On Monday he announced his return, yet some Likud
activists remain unimpressed, saying they will never forget how he
once abandoned them.
Seven years after leaving the Likud, Tzachi Hanegbi announced on
Monday that he is returning to his political home. "Unfortunately,
Kadima´s leadership no longer represents my position," he wrote on
his Facebook page on Monday. "During the last few days I´ve been
involved in a move that has generated a lot of harsh criticism— some
legitimate, some hateful and malicious," he said on his page.
Hanegbi explained his involvement in the recent Kadima defections,
saying, "Following Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz´s decision to disband
the current unity government, I took part in convincing as many of my
friends from Kadima as possible to support the government and aid
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to pass a law that better
distributes the national burden by August 1. Only a few Kadima MKs
seemed ready to do so, which is why the proposed draft law will not
pass. The chances of passing the state budget are also slim, and it
is likely that we will soon find ourselves in the midst on another
Hanegbi also reflected on the controversy that led up to Kadima
quitting the coalition, by saying, "The disagreement over the draft
age, punitive measures against draft dodgers and when to implement
relevant government decisions are all very important, but the real
debate is between an inclusive approach and a populist one. Unlike
speculation propagated by the media, as someone who has been involved
with the negotiations [between Kadima and the Likud], I can say that
the prime minister is intent on addressing the demands of the secular
public, even at the cost of putting a further strain on his
relationship with his haredi partners. To put it mildly, I did not
see a similar flexibility with our [Kadima´s] representatives in the
Hanegbi referred to Mofaz by saying, "His decision to force Israel
into an early election in order to marginally improve his own public
image is outrageously irresponsible. This is not the statesmanship
displayed by Ariel Sharon when he first formed Kadima, quite the
opposite: It is a blatant example of choosing partisan interests over
any other consideration."
Mofaz told Army Radio on Tuesday that Hanegbi´s connection to
Netanyahu is linked to his support for a possible Israeli attack
against Iran, Army Radio reported.
"There wasn´t only bribery and profiteering here, but worse -
profiterring at the cost of the holiest of holies of the country´s
security," Mofaz said.
In an interview to Army Radio on Tuesday, Hanegbi rejected the
speculation that Netanyahu is looking to bolster his current
government in case he decides to attack Iran. "This is fiction," he
Hanegbi also responded in the interview to Mofaz´s comments on Monday
that he "refused to take part in an operation that would risk the
citizens of Israel." Hanegbi criticized Mofaz, and said his comments
show "a lack of restraint and self control by someone who was once an
IDF chief of staff and defense minister."
Hanegbi defended his role in the failed defection, saying, "My
intentions were good and honorable and I regret that my efforts
failed to provide political stability to the government during a time
of critical decision-making."
While Hanegbi is expected to secure one of the top slots on the Likud
list ahead of the next Knesset elections, not all Likud members await
his return. "We won´t forget how he left us for Kadima," a party
activist has said.
Hanegbi was a Likud member for almost 20 years. Both his parents were
prominent right-wingers: his mother, Geula Cohen, is a former Likud
member, and his father Emanuel was a top commander in the pre-state
militant Lehi organization. In 2005, when then-Prime Minister and
Likud leader Ariel Sharon left Likud to form Kadima, Hanegbi went
Hanegbi´s return to the Likud also raises the issue of his 2010
conviction for committing perjury to the Central Elections Committee.
Though his conviction is considered a crime with moral turpitude, it
does not prevent him from running in the next elections, since
Hanegbi was not sentenced to any prison time or community service.
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