Avi Dichter / Alone in Rahat, but last in the polls
Two teenage boys and two girls yesterday accompanied Kadima chairman candidate Avi Dichter to every polling station he visited. Like cheerleaders, in matching shirts bearing the candidate's name and slogans, they sang and crowned him the victor.
At their third stop, in the town of Rahat, they fell silent. Maybe it was the heat, or maybe it was the dominance of Dichter's activists in the Bedouin town that made any further demonstration unnecessary.
In any case, no other candidate's supporters were seen at the polling station in Rahat.
Earlier in the day in Ashkelon, where the candidates' strengths were more balanced, Dichter needed his cheerleaders. A little after 10 A.M., after a morning swim, Dichter and his wife, Ilana, and daughter, Mor, came to vote.
Local Kadima members are great fans of his, but not all of them voted for him. "I really want him to be prime minister," said one Livni supporter to his friend, "but he needs to gain strength and experience."
Dichter had to make his way through dozens of hugs, handshakes, greetings and good wishes to get to the polls. "The future is in this envelope," said Dichter as he placed it in the ballot box. "Today is the day of the voter, after dozens of days of the pollsters. Count the hours - surprises are us," he said continuing his message of the last few days.
His wife smiled, but refused to say anything to reporters. "I believe in him," said Ilana, and then kept silent.
His convoy reached no less than 10 cities and towns in the center and south, including his media adviser, aides and supporters.
But when he was asked about the day after, Dichter said: "Kadima will finish the primaries united and unified. At three in the morning both Barak and Netanyahu will have a good reason not to sleep, since they will know Kadima is now stronger."