Sunday, March 25, 2012 "Kadima candidates speak before a meeting of the Masorti Movement; try to convince Conservative Jews that they are the right choice to lead the centrist party."

Kadima members set to vote for leader / In campaign's final days, Livni and Mofaz argue against tribalism

Kadima candidates speak before a meeting of the Masorti Movement; try to convince Conservative Jews that they are the right choice to lead the centrist party.

By Ophir Bar-ZoharIn the final days before the Kadima leadership primary, Tzipi Livni and Shaul Mofaz are urging Israelis to refrain from the factionalism that has plagued society in recent years.

In a speech before tomorrow's vote, Mofaz spoke about the social protest movement, drafting ultra-Orthodox youth into the army, and changing the system of government. Livni spoke about Israel's long-term future. She said the social fabric was coming apart.

Livni, Mofaz - Alon Ron - 2008

Kadima MKs Shaul Mofaz (left) and Tzipi Livni, in 2008.

Photo by: Alon Ron

The two candidates were speaking before a meeting of the Masorti Movement; they are also trying to convince Conservative Jews that they are the right choice to lead the centrist party.

"Status quo isn't a value," Livni said, referring to relations between the country's religious and secular communities. "Some things that were valid when the state was created must be reopened for discussion.

"When one says unity, it usually means that everybody must agree on an issue for a decision to be taken. But what it really means is that small groups that have hijacked the public agenda have a right to veto decisions by the Zionist majority. We only have a few more years to reach such a decision. The word agreement has become a substitute for impotency and a lack of will to make political decisions."

Livni said the lack of a genuine debate was apparent in the compromise on the Migron outpost that the High Court of Justice rejected yesterday.

"I think it's immoral to take these people, who unfortunately must be uprooted, and plant them on an adjacent hill where they might again be uprooted as a result of a political decision," she said.

"Instead of saying to them, as unpleasant as it may be, 'come back home to Israel,' such a debate doesn't exist. We need a leadership that can have a real debate. Elections in Israel have become about who gets which portfolio. There are no disagreements and ideology anymore. This government must be replaced."

Mofaz, for his part, said Israel is a military superpower but weak socially. "There are huge gaps here, as I've felt personally. The flag we must raise is one of a new social order."

Mofaz, too, said Israel's main problem was the clash between various segments of the population. "We must return the country's unity; we should have one law for everyone. We're composed of many tribes, and every tribe follows the laws as it sees fit. That's why we're not a strong society."

Mofaz said he plans to have Kadima lead the social protests in the coming months. "This summer the citizens will again take to the streets, and they will have a lot to say about the exclusion of women, equality, a fair carrying of the burden and rising prices," he said. "I believe that the elections are not much more than a hundred days away."

Mofaz added that the three or four largest parties could change the system of government; he believes that toppling the government in the Knesset should require more than the current 61 votes.

Labor on the offensive

The Labor Party, meanwhile, has launched a campaign it hopes will lure disenchanted Kadima voters. Video clips on website feature Kadima members who have left the party - the largest in the Knesset - and joined Labor. The campaign's slogan is "I, too, left Kadima for Labor."

The campaign is aimed at young people using the social media, but also targets older people. Labor activists plan to take part in events aimed at pensioners.

Rabbi Menachem Creditor
To join Rabbi Creditor's email list, send a blank email to
Check out my new album"Within" on itunes!