Former IDF Intel Chief Joins Zionist Camp; Mofaz Doesn't

Amos Yadlin to be Labor-Hatnuah slate’s top security figure.

Alon Ron

Zionist Camp, the Labor-Hatnuah joint election slate, announced Monday that Maj. Gen. (Res.) Amos Yadlin will join it, following Kadima chairman and former IDF chief Shaul Mofaz’s announcement that he would not be on the ticket. Mofaz said he was “at peace with the decision,” which he made after prolonged talks, with many shifts of direction, in recent weeks.

Yadlin, former head of Military Intelligence and current director of the Institute for National Security Studies, is being tapped to join the Zionist Camp list as its top-ranked security figure. Together with the ticket’s leader, Isaac Herzog, Yadlin is one of the “princes” of Labor. His father, Aharon Yadlin, one of the heads of Mapai, served as education minister in Yitzhak Rabin’s first government.

Sources close to the talks between Yadlin and Labor said Monday that the ex-general wished to be appointed defense minister or intelligence affairs minister, and that he was willing to give up a reserved spot on the list for the promise of a high-level cabinet appointment.

The sources also said Mofaz’s demands were “unrealistic” at the start, after he asked for a place among the list’s top 10 slots, the defense portfolio and two more reserved slots on the list for representatives of his own choosing. Mofaz reduced his demands as the days passed and agreed to have the 11th slot reserved for himself, but insisted on being the list’s top-ranking security figure and having a slot reserved for one other candidate of his choosing. Zionist Camp officials refused.

According to surveys conducted by Labor, Mofaz is a well-liked figure among the soft right wing – a segment of voters whom Zionist Camp is targeting, although they, too, said they did not want Mofaz as defense minister. It seemed in recent days that Mofaz and Zionist Camp were close to an agreement, but Monday  morning both sides decided against joining hands. Mofaz said he had not yet decided what his political future would be – whether he intended to withdraw from the race or join another party. According to the latest polls, Kadima is not expected to pass the electoral threshold in the March 17 elections.

Labor officials denied that Mofaz’s absence from the list would result in a party without any Mizrahi candidates. According to a party source, “All the claims about an overly Ashkenazi list are groundless: Eitan Cabel, Hilik Bar and Itzik Shmuli are significant figures in the top 10 slots of the party’s list.”