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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Kadima Disintegration Begins: Who's Next?

So 6 MKs from Kadima, which could end up at 10 or more, are apparently defecting from Kadima.

So far, we've heard Eli Aflalo, Ronit Tirosh, Otniel Schneller, Aryeh Bibi, Shai Hermesh, Yulia Shamalov Berkovich and probably Ze'ev Bo'im (in the above article) as well as Yisrael Hasson and Ya'acov Edri in an earlier article.

That makes 9. 5 of them are in the 6 lowest ranked on the Kadima list of those who got elected. Tirosh, Edri and Aflalo are in the middle, and Bo'im is near the top.

The interesting thing is that this split is happening even though it's not being led or orchestrated by Shaul Mofaz. Back during the summer, the Knesset was discussing the "Mofaz Bill, which would allow seven MKs to split from their party to form an independent faction. This was called as such because people expected Shaul Mofaz and some of the more rightist Kadima MKs to take advantage of it.

But of course, Kadima is hardly the only party to be having problems keeping itself together. The four "Labor rebels" (Eitan Cabel, Ophir Pines-Paz, Yuli Tamir and Amir Peretz) are still trying to get a fifth Labor MK so they can form a new faction under the 1/3 rule (perhaps Meretz is still too far to the left for them, I dunno; also, there are more of them then there are Meretz MKs, so Meretz might not take kindly to it), though they've been unsuccessful these last few months.

And, though Likud hasn't had those kinds of problems, it's still got some. After all, Likud's right flank has been rather angry about the declaration of a Palestinian state, the settlement freeze, and the Har Bracha hesder yeshiva delisting. The nuts in the National Union have been trying to woo seven Likud MKs to their side since then, so far without success.

Top on the list would be 31-year old MK Tzipi Hotovely. A religious single law student (for a doctorate, which is more than is necessary in Israel, where law is an undergraduate degree as I think it is in many other countries) who is also an MK, she definitely puts the "hot" in Hotovely. Yes, I'm aware Hotovely begins with a ח (Het), but I don't care.

At any rate, after HOTovely, the next candidate would presumably be Danny Danon. MK Danon has led the intra-Likud fight against the settlement freeze. He immediately convened a rally against it even before the Yesha council. He's tried to get Peace Now declared a criminal organization. He's backing the nutty even for settlers settlers in Ma'ale Levona in their physical attacks on the Border Police

Other potential targets include Yariv Levin (more) and six other Likud MKs who apparently opposed the freeze (there was a 7th, but Ayoub Kara is not a realistic target for joining the National Union, since unlike Beitenu they don't make an exception for the Druze in their even more extreme [and generally religious in nature] nationalism), Zeev Elkin, Miri Regev, Ofir Akunis, Tzion Pinyan, Carmel Shama and Haim Katz. Elkin lives in the West Bank and has moved right after initially being part of Kadima. Katz ironically was briefly in Amir Peretz's Am Ehad party and spent most of his career as a highly active (and eventually highly ranking) trade unionist.

Benny Begin, who was in the National Union in its first time in the Knesset (1999), might be a possibility as well. However, he actually voted for the settlement freeze, and earlier in the year helped kill the "nakba bill" on free speech grounds. I think either he's gotten more sane or the settlers have gotten more insane (or both); or maybe his father's territory giveaway is rubbing off on him-who knows?

Actually, with the Kadima disintegration (especially should the desired new independent faction end up joining Likud), maybe they'll all get fed up. I guess we'll have to see.

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