Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz gave a scathing Knesset speech Monday, at political turmoil continues to plague Israel's parliament halls following the party's exit from the coalition over the failed attempts to instate universal service in Israel.
The move, which threatens the government's stability, has prompted the Likud to court Kadima Knesset members – many of whom were Likud members in the past – and have them return to their political home.
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So far, MKs Arie Bibi, Otniel Schneller, Avraham Duan and Yulia Shamalov-Berkovich have gone back to the Likud in exchange for government portfolios. The Likud need seven of Kadima's MKs to cross the lines in order to see the party officially split.
"Members of the Kadima faction have conducted an insidious campaign and an attempt at political blackmail. This is a shameful move, lacking in dignity and values and led by none other than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu," Mofaz said over the podium.
Back in the opposition. Mofaz (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who, with his own hands, chose draft-dodgers over those who serve and who has tried to make the disgrace acceptable for aberrant political blackmail.
"Mr. Speaker, I expect you to condemn this unworthy act. An act that hurts the public's confidence in its elected officials and undermines the foundations of this Knesset's legitimacy."
Speaking of the failed attempted to instate a universal draft, Mofaz said that "Our daughters and sons… hoped that the prime minister would be up to the challenge, would utilize his huge coalition and bring forward a historic change after 64 years of moral injustice.
"They did not expect you to trade in votes in order to approve draft-dodging. Disgrace disguised by equality. Those who suggest that the haredi sector be enlisted at the age of 26 do not seek historic change, but rather a social deadlock.
"Those who seek to enlist the haredi sector without personal liability and without personal sanctions are not truly interested in change," he stressed.
Mofaz continued: "After he understood that there was no majority for dishonor in the Knesset, the prime minister added insult to injury through political blackmail.
"(…) Blackmail is a two-way street. There is the side that gives and the side that receives. The giver and the receiver are equally abominable. And what low moral values they encompass."
'Netanyahu is afraid'
Netanyahu, he blasted, "Is a prime minister who never misses a chance to miss a chance... We have a PM who freezes when faced with once in a lifetime opportunities, who runs away from responsibility and is afraid to make a decision. Because the motto in the Prime Minister's Office is 'what can be postponed to tomorrow should be postponed for the day after tomorrow.'
"The prime minister decided to conspire towards a disgrace that would enable draft-dodging. What a shameful disgrace," Mofaz continued.
Conspiring? PM Netanyahu (Photo: Flash 90)
"Kadima returns to the opposition with its head held high to remind you and demonstrate to you, prime minister, and the public, the magnitude of your desistance and the lack of action of you and your government.
"With your recent moves prime minister, you have proven that you lack the needed ability to lead in this era. Instead of leading, you ran from decisions; instead of leading you allowed yourself to be dragged by isolationist sectors; instead of doing the right and needed thing you are focused on approving that which should not be approved, dividing instead of uniting, in petty politics instead of leading."
Kadima's chairman further vowed that Netanyahu's "Draft-dodging bill will not pass in the Knesset. We will fight it with all our power from the opposition benches. We will not allow you to enable draft-dodging.
"We will not turn our backs on those who serve, the productive tax paying sector. You will not buy us with positions."
Netanyahu was absent from the plenum and Mofaz chose to end his speech with a dramatic tone: "I say to you with a clear voice – We will not give in to desperation!
"We will lend a hand to our brothers. We will support each other brother to brother. We will carry the national and social stretcher until it finds a salve – until the evil government will pass from our land.
"Until the majority's voice will be expressed – the majority's trampled voice – the voice of those who chose Zionism, belonging and sharing the burden.
"You prime minister abandoned them, we will be their voice."
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