Following the election of Shelly Yachimovich as the new head of the Labor Party most polls show Kadima dropping significantly in the next elections. If so, one can only hope that this spells the beginning of the end for Kadima, a party that epitomizes many of the things that are wrong in Israel.
For starters its current leader Tzipi Livni has spent most of the last two and a half years doing nothing other than attacking Prime Minister Netanyahu. It doesn’t matter what the subject is or what the stakes are for Israel, Livni simply cannot show any public support for Netanyahu. However, for someone who aspires to be the head of the country, her unrelenting attacks, even during times when it is clear that her temporary backing would be for the good of the country, clearly demonstrates the irresponsible behavior of this party and its leader.
Even a few days ago when Netanyahu went to the UN to fight a diplomatic battle for Israel, Livni, rather than showing responsibility and closing ranks for the good of the country, couldn’t resist another opportunity to publicly flail Netanyahu and thus penned an article in which she blamed Netanyahu for Israel’s diplomatic isolation. She even contrasted Kadima’s “path of hope” to Netanyahu’s “path of despair…..that weakens and isolates Israel”. Never mind the usual inflexible position of Abbas and the Palestinians, the increasingly aggressive behavior of Turkey, the ongoing threat of extinction from Iran, the growing instability in Egypt, Syria and Jordan and the occasional terrorist or missile attack; in Livni’s dream world, if only Netanyahu was serious about peace everything would be fine.
Livni’s article came one day after the previous leader of Kadima, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, urged Netanyahu in a front page NY Times op-ed to show true leadership and work towards a solution rather than trying to block Abbas’s bid for statehood. Of course Olmert’s idea for a solution is based upon his far-reaching 2008 offer to Abbas which includes, amongst other things, Israel absorbing a small number of Arab refugees on humanitarian grounds and the holy places in Jerusalem being jointly administered with the assistance of Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United States. Apparently Olmert is living in the same dream world as Livni.
Nevertheless, irresponsible behavior by leaders who are totally out of touch with reality is only one of the problems with Kadima, a party that was “born in sin” back in 2005. Following the Gaza Disengagement in August 2005 and faced with growing opposition in his own Likud party, Sharon simply left the Likud and formed Kadima in November 2005. Of course the problem with this was that in the 2003 general elections the victor was the Likud party, not Ariel Sharon. He was the leader of the Likud, and as the leader of the victorious party he was charged with forming a governing coalition, which is exactly what he did. However, when he left the Likud and formed Kadima, the Likud still should have been the ruling party. Nevertheless, with the “powers that be” squarely in his corner and still “protected like an etrog”, Kadima instantly became the ruling party.
One of the “Likud stars” who followed Sharon to Kadima was former general Shaul Mofaz. The irony of course was that just a few days prior to his leaving the Likud, Mofaz had protested against other Likud members who were deserting the party and even had sent a letter to the entire membership of the Likud promising his loyalty to the party. However, once he realized that his chances were slim in the race for the recently vacated Likud leadership, Mofaz quickly demonstrated that doing what one must in order to acquire a good position is much more important than honoring one’s words.
Finally, another well-known Likud MK to follow Sharon was Meir Sheetrit, who commenting on the strength of Kadima during the 2006 election campaign said “We’ve disengaged from all ideologies. That’s what’s unique about Kadima.” In other words, being the ultimate collection of opportunists, Kadima stood for, and still stands for, absolutely nothing. This being the case, it would be in the best interest of Israel if this party would just fade away.