It might look like Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz was able to survive the latest attempt to split his party, but it is only a matter of time until Kadima splits into pieces. It has become clear that Mofaz has no control over his party.
Mofaz enjoyed the support of 17 of Kadima’s 28 MKs in March, when he won the Kadima primary and ousted then-leader Tzipi Livni. Four months later Mofaz has lost 10 of his MK supporters, some when he entered the coalition, forming a national unity government, and others when he left.
During today’s House Committee hearing of the “Kadima 4”, four Kadima MKs who tried to break off to Likud, Coalition Chairman Zeev Elkin revealed that two thirds of Kadima’s MKs have been negotiating their exit from Kadima. Mofaz’s former right hand man, MK Avraham Duan, revealed that Mofaz himself has examined leaving Kadima over a dozen times, most recently this past January. MK Meir Sheetrit, who represented Mofaz in the House Committee hearing, admitted that he tried breaking off of Kadima as recently as a few months ago when Kadima joined the coalition.
Kadima is already in pieces. There are four groups of MKs making up today’s Kadima.
The “Right-Center Group” consists of eight current MKs, five of whom want to join the Likud and three who don’t. The Likud camp includes MK Jacob Edery and the “Kadima 4”- MKs Otniel Schneller, Arie Bibi, Yulia Shamalov Berkovich, and Duan. Former MK Tzachi Hangebi who led the most recent breakaway effort has already joined the Likud. MKs Avi Dichter, Israel Hasson and Zeev Bielski are right-center but oppose joining the Likud. The opposition of these three MKs to join the Likud put an end to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s recent attempt to split Kadima.
The “Livni Camp” consists of eleven MKs who supported the former Opposition Leader in the primaries. This group can also be divided into two- those who have already decided to they want to leave and those who haven’t made that decision yet. Former MK Haim Ramon dropped by the Knesset today to try to find a seventh MK to join MKs Yoel Hasson, Majallie Whbee, Shlomo Molla, Nino Abesadze, Robert Tiviaev and Orit Zuaretz in forming a new party. MKs Ronnie Bar-On, Marina Solodkin, Rachel Adatto, Doron Avital and Nachman Shai don’t want to make a move yet.
The “Mofaz Loyalists” consist today of seven MKs, including Mofaz. Mofaz’s remaining loyalists are MKs Ruhama Avraham Balila, Shai Hermesh, Yohanan Plesner, Ronit Tirosh, Akram Hasoon and Yuval Zellner. Many of these MKs have had talks with the “Right-Center Group” and the “Livni Camp”. It could be a matter of time before Mofaz loses them as well.
The “Disgruntled Veterans” include long-time MKs Sheetrit and Dalia Itzik. Both of them are trying to figure out their political futures and could be wildcards.
Kadima was born as a combination of MKs from the 16th Knesset’s Likud, Labor, Yisrael B’Aliyah, National Union-Yisrael Beitenu and Am Echad lists. There have been countless attempts to break up this party of political refugees over the last six years, and each time Kadima has been able to remain more or less united. Today Mofaz faces a more serious threat with concurrent attempts from all sides to split the party.
It will only be a matter of time until Kadima is split, and when it does it will be into many pieces. It could be days or months away, but the death of Kadima is near.