Kadima was formed in November of 2005 by Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon,
following his resignation from the Likud.
In April 2004, then Prime Minister Sharon started pushing the idea of a unilateral disengagement from
the Gaza Strip. The move called for the removal of 21 Israeli settlements
in the Strip and four settlements in the northern West Bank, and sparked controversy from the moment of its inception, provoking political outbursts and mass public objection.
In early June, Sharon's government approved the disengagement plan and in August 2005 the Gaza pullout began. In its aftermath, Sharon's position in the Likud suffered, as he began encountering more and more opposition within his party, and on November 21 2005, he announced he was leaving the
Likud and forming a new party which would allow him the freedom to carry out his new political vision.
Israeli politics were shaken by
the move, as Sharon's new party was soon joined by political figures from all ends of the spectrum: Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livni, Meir Sheetrit, Gideon Ezra, Avraham Hirchson, Ronnie Bar-On, Haim Ramon and Shimon Peres, to name a few, rallied to Sharon's side, giving Kadima more than 150 members in its first day of founding alone.
PM Sharon suffered a
massive stroke in the beginning of January 2006 and has been in a coma ever since. Ehud Olmert replaced
him as leader of the party. Olmert stepped down as
Kadima chairman in September of 2008, amid political scandal. His Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, was voted party
chairwoman in the subsequent primaries.
- Preserving Israel as a democratic Jewish State; Boosting Israel's Jewish character, bridging the gap between secular and religious, nurturing the country's democratic character.
- Moving ahead with the peace process, based on the implementation of the Road Map peace plan. The Party supports the establishment of "another nation state whose formation resolves the refugee problem, as long as it is not a terror state." The party is committed to a phased diplomatic solution involving dismantlement of terror groups, PA security forces reform, and Palestinian pledge to prevent incitement. Kadima further pledges to keep large settlement blocs and maintain the unity of Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.
- Maintaining Israel's safety and security and fighting terror, while preserving Israel's national security interests
- Changing the government's financial priorities and maximizing transparency; fighting all aspects of poverty an reducing the gaps between social echelons; increase Israel's financial growth; promoting minority rights; fighting crime and violence; investment in socioeconomic infrastructure; boosting the Negev and Galilee areas; protecting the environment, promoting a solution for civil marriage in Israel and strengthening Israel's ties with Jewish communities aboard.
- Changing the system of government, while boosting Knesset members' obligation to the public, without the intermediation of the parties' central committees.