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MK Tirosh, denies meeting Photo: Gil Yohanan
MK Tirosh, denies meeting Photo: Gil Yohanan
 
Schneller, 'Complex matter' Photo: Michal Petel
Schneller, 'Complex matter' Photo: Michal Petel
 
Edery, 'No intention of moving to Likud' Photo: Yitzhak Elharar
Edery, 'No intention of moving to Likud' Photo: Yitzhak Elharar
 
Avraham, 'No chance of division' Photo: Gil Yohanan
Avraham, 'No chance of division' Photo: Gil Yohanan
 
 

PM courting Kadima MKs

Netanyahu, aides making promises, offers to Kadima faction members in hopes of persuading them to deflect to Likud, but for now, Kadima MKs staying put and MK Ruhama Avraham says 'it will be easier to get all Kadima in gov't rather than part of it'

Attila Somfalvi
Published: 12.23.09, 09:42 / Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud officials in recent days have been busy with efforts to dismantle the opposition faction, which is also the largest faction in Knesset.

 

Monday evening, in the midst of negotiations for the release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit, rumors of a meeting between Netanyahu and Kadima MK Ronit Tirosh spread. The Prime Minister's Office officially denied that such a meeting was held, and Tirosh also said she did not meet with the prime minister.

 

"When I met with (Transportation Minister) Yisrael Katz they also said we were discussing political matters, although I was discussing other things with him," Tirosh said.

 

On Tuesday, Kadmia sources said Netanyahu had met with MK Otniel Schneller, one of the party's MKs who seems more eager to move over to the Likud. Schneller told Ynet this week that "the matter of moving to Likud is complex and not simple."

 

In recent days the media has been reporting of the possibility that seven Kadima faction MKs may leave the party and join the Likud. In light of such reports, Kadima officials have expressed their doubt that the division will actually occur, but did not rule it out completely.

 

"You can never know what's going through people's heads, and it can happen suddenly, without even noticing," a Kadima source said. But for now, at least in public, Kadima MKs who are "wanted" by the Likud have been indicating that there is no chance of division in the party.

 

Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni has been overall nonchalant about the reports, but after this week's meetings became public, Livni met with Kadima MKs whose names have come up as those who may be part of a group to leave the party when the time comes.

 

Livni spoke with MKs Eli Aflalo, Otniel Schneller and Ront Tirosh, but her office gave no details on the content of the meetings. These three MKs are being "courted" by the prime minister's aides, and by Netanyahu himself.

 

MKs receive vague offers

So far, in an attempt to persuade them to dessert Kadima, the MKs received vague offers with regards to their future in the current government. The MKs were also promised that Netanyahu and his aids would guarantee their political future within the Likud party.

 

It seems that some of the Kadima MKs have begun examining whether the various promises they have received may be realized within the Likud party, and learned that the political reality is far more complicated than the promises Netanyahu's political advisor Shalom Shlomo has made.

 

Other MKs believed to be courted by the prime minister are Jacob Edery, Israel Hasson, Yulia Shamalov Berkovich, Ruhama Avraham-Balila and Shai Hermesh.

 

MK Edery, who is apparently behind some of the recent media reports of pressure being put on Kadima MKs, told Ynet, "I have no intention of moving to Likud. I authorize you to clarify that this is nonsense, and I am staying in Kadima. It isn't even an option."

 

Avraham-Balila also said she has no plans of even considering the possibility of leaving Kadima, and stressed that "there is no chance that Kadima will be divided. Netanyahu will have a much easier time getting all of Kadima in the government rather than part of it."

 

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