Ramon: Agreement on most subjects
Photo: AFP
Yisrael Beiteinu's Lieberman
Photo: AFP
Chief negotiator MK Misezhnikov
Photo: Atta Awisat

Kadima: We agree with Lieberman on 90% of issues

Haim Ramon says meeting with Yisrael Beiteinu rep went well but witholds reponse to 'loyalty law'; Arab, leftist politicians respond with anger

Vice Premier Haim Ramon announced Monday that a meeting with Yisrael Beiteinu's chief negotiator, MK Stas Misezhnikov, had ended on a high note with Kadima accepting most of the right-wing party's principles.


Kadima's answer to Yisrael Beiteinu's call for loyalty to the State in return for citizenship was: "In Israel, as the Jews' nation, national expression will not be given to national minorities. Thus the State will promise to show preference for discharged soldiers who served in the IDF as well as those who served a different service and contributed to the State's security."


Kadima also stated that it would "expand the activities of the 'Administration of National and Civic Service' according to the principle that every youth in Israel must contribute to the State and society in which he/she lives through army, national, or civic service recognized by the State."


A document sent to Kadima and the Likud by Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman on Friday outlined the party's five major demands, without which it would not agree to sit in the coalition.


The demands include the destruction of Hamas' regime, submission of a citizenship bill to the Knesset requiring loyalty as a condition for citizenship, the formulation of a bill regarding Israel's method of government within three months, the establishment of an emergency cabinet for immigrant absorption, and other demands on the issues of religion and state, including civil marriage.


Kadima stated that many of Yisrael Beiteinu's demands already exist in its platform, and that the others have been mentioned in campaign speeches given by Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni.


Ramon told Ynet that 90% of Yisrael Beiteinu's positions correlate with Kadima's policy. "Even on the subject of loyalty and everything concerning national service – we agree," he said.


However, Ramon added, the party had not yet formulated an opinion on the matter of a bill requiring loyalty for citizenship and had not responded to the demand as yet. "It's a complicated subject and we have to discuss it within the framework of a committee," he said.


In its response to Yisrael Beiteinu's demands Kadima stated that it would "fight determinedly against terror organizations" and work to bring change to Israel's method of government. Regarding immigration, the statement said Kadima would "work to allow conversion on a wide-range scale" in cooperation with Israel's Chief Rabbinate, in order to encourage aliyah as a "national need and priority."


'Kadima is a fraud'

The left wing responded with derision to the agreement achieved between the two parties. Labor Secretary-General MK Eitan Cabel called Kadima a "fraud", and said the party's voters would demand their ballots back, while his colleague MK Ophir Pines-Paz (Labor) dubbed the centrist party "a second Yisrael Beiteinu".


United Arab List-Ta'al Chairman Ahmad Tibi responded to the news by saying, "The Lieberman has come out of Livni," and said the agreement between the two proved there was "no difference between the Right and what is termed 'centrist' in Israel."


Hadash Chairman Mohammad Barakeh said, "Kadima's answers to Lieberman's demands institutionalize Ivette's racist opinions," and added that "those who think the Palestinian people's fate will be determined by such racist decisions are wrong. We will continue to battle racist policies as was before and will be after Lieberman."


Kadima is hoping to break apart the mass of right-wing parties that would recommend Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu to the office of prime minister. "We're not sure Lieberman will recommend Bibi, so we must do everything possible to make sure he doesn't," a party official said.


פרסום ראשון: 02.16.09, 18:13
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