Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz at a press conference
Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz at a press conference in the Knesset, July 23, 2012. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi
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Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz responded Tuesday morning to accusations by outgoing party member Tzachi Hanegbi that he revealed secret information on Israel's intentions regarding Iran.

"I have never described an exact modus operandi," Mofaz told Army Radio, adding that he has never revealed operational information or significant details that were unknown to the public.

Hanegbi has declared that, after seven years, he will be leaving Kadima to rejoin the Likud, sparking accusations that he is interested in serving as Home Front Defense Minister, a position which would be of exceptional importance if Israel were to attack Iran. His announcement came one day after his abortive attempt to lead a group of Knesset members from Kadima to the Likud.

In his interview on Tuesday morning, Mofaz reiterated that Hanegbi's decision to join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is tied to Iran. "This was a cynical exploitation of the holiest of holies of Israel's security [establishment]," said Mofaz.

Mofaz also spoke of the unity coalition split. "I wanted very much to stay in the coalition and achieve results. [But] I was not willing to let him (Netanyahu) trivialize, spin or erase matters of great import to the State of Israel. I believed that a coalition of 94 members would allow any prime minister, including Netanyahu, to make decisions."

On Monday, Mofaz said that, among other reasons, his decision to leave the coalition was due to his refusal to "support a military adventure that would endanger the citizens of Israel."

Earlier on Tuesday morning, in an interview with Army Radio, Tzachi Hanegbi denied claims that behind Netanyahu's attempts to break up Kadima there is an intention to bring Hanegbi into the party, and thereby enhance support for Netanyahu ahead of an attack on Iran. Hanegbi vehemently denied Mofaz's claims made Monday morning, describing his comments as "particularly materialistic, especially coming from someone who was once (IDF) chief of general staff and defense minister." He went on to accuse Mofaz of "lacking restraint and self control."

Political officials, surprised by Hanegbi's decision to ditch Kadima for the Likud, said the MK knows well what he would be in store should he be appointed Home Front Defense Minister. "If a war breaks out, he will bear great responsibility for failure to take necessary actions, and, conversely, he will turn into one of the central figures in the Israeli sphere in a confrontation with Iran," said one political official. "He could have chosen a more comfortable position: to serve as a minister without portfolio, like Shaul Mofaz did before him, or to choose an easier portfolio."

"We must pay great attention to the timing [of this move]," said the official. "Netanyahu continuously threatens to attack Iran, and he is manning this senior position – moments before an attack – with someone who is close to him. Does this reflect an intention to attack Iran? Or perhaps it shows Hanegbi has in fact chosen a quiet portfolio? Only time will tell."