Kadima Knesset Member Shaul Mofaz accused party chairwoman Tzipi Livni of launching a smear campaign against the ultra-Orthodox community and criticized calls to force haredi schools to teach the so-called "basic subjects."
In an interview with a haredi newspaper, published Monday, Mofaz said, "I am against this hate campaign. The matter was not discussed within the faction and I'm certain that at least half of the members are against it. I've read some of Livni's comments, and I cannot say that I agree with them. I certainly don't belong to the group that preaches hatred against haredim."
According to the former IDF chief of staff and defense minister, Livni is criticizing the haredi community in order to gain support "between Shenkin and Ramat Aviv," an area that is considered a hub of secular culture in Israel.
"This has become a political trend. The (politicians) are mistaken if think they can win more mandates by turning the haredi issue into an electoral one," he said.
With regards to the teaching of core subjects in haredi educational institutions, Mofaz told the newspaper he does not consider the issue to be a top priority, adding that the haredi public has undergone "a quiet process of integration and learning."
"I am a traditional Jew, and I believe that tradition is very important. I am certain that many Kadima members believe this as well," he said.
Mofaz reiterated his criticism of Livni's refusal to join form a government with the haredi parties following the 2009 elections.
"Livni erred when she did not come to an agreement with Shas and then with Labor. I would have definitely established a government; this would have been possible without us paying too much," he said.
Mofaz said he was in favor of joining the government in order to promote two main issues: The peace process and changing the system of government. "The current situation is unnatural. For the first time in Israel's history, the largest party is in the opposition. Kadima was formed to lead processes," he said.
The Kadima MK also criticized the temporary construction freeze in the West Bank and called for the formulation of an updated peace plan.
"There was no breakthrough during the three years Kadima was in power under (former Prime Minister) Ehud Olmert. I thought that our policy was wrong. You can't go directly to a permanent agreement. You can’t agree on the core issues when there are two authorities on the Palestinian side – the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and the terror organization (Hamas) in Gaza," he said.
"Each step we take must be calculated, and the correct path is an interim agreement. Any construction moratorium is a big mistake. Why did it come to this? Because the Netanyahu government has no plan," Mofaz claimed.