Kadima members pledged to maintain a clean race for the party’s leadership, yet behind the scenes, and far away from the microphones, the gloves are off and senior faction members are starting to engage in mudslinging. Various sources in Kadima, ranging from Knesset members to activists, accuse each other of making shady deals, dubious promises to voters, and particularly, conduct that is reminiscent of the grim days of the Likud Central Committee. And this is just the beginning.
In recent days, senior party figures, and particularly those who intend to back Tzipi Livni, have been leveling charges at Shaul Mofaz and his people. According to the accusations, the transportation minister’s activists enlisted hundreds of new party members through promises for appointments, jobs, and various kinds of assistance.
Livni’s supporters accuse Mofaz’s associates of generous pledges to appoint people to various public service posts and deals with various union members. Yet officials at Mofaz’ campaign have rejected those claims out of hand: “We know who’s trying to taint our campaign, and why. We won’t be dragged there.”
However, these stories about corruption and irregularities, which are expected to become more numerous in the coming days and weeks, also give rise to odd stories. For example, the story of a key activist in the north, who’s mostly strong in Kadima’s non-Jewish sector, and who convinced dozens of people to back Mofaz but recently decided to cross the lines.
Mofaz's promisesIn a talk with Ynet he expressed his anger over promises apparently made to him by Mofaz and his people, allegedly backed up by documents, which have not materialized. Mofaz’ campaign chuckled in the face of these claims: “Shouldn’t it be to our credit that we didn’t appoint him?” said one campaign official. The campaign has been dealing almost daily with countless inquiries by reporters seeking clarifications regarding various appointments at various sites.
Similar reports are coming in from other regions of the country in recent weeks. Some of these reports come from more credible Kadima sources than others. The common thread is as follows: The people on the ground love Mofaz, but it must be because he made promises to people. And this doesn’t stop here: Hair-raising stories about cash-filled suitcases in the Arab and Druze sector flood Kadima every day.
Mofaz’s rivals make it clear that “Kadima under Mofaz’s leadership would look like the Likud. We must not let this happen” – while making sure to provide more stories.
Will these stories help? Livni’s supporters hope so, and therefore they make sure to tell them to whoever is willing to listen. Will more irregularities be uncovered in Kadima’s recruitment drive and the ties between some candidates and activists? We can assume so. But are these stories beyond what we are familiar with? This is very doubtful.
Yet still, the stories will continue to come in, in an attempt to create much noise and de-legitimization.