Former IDF Spokesman Nachman Shai Joins Kadima

Nachman Shai, chairman of the United Jewish Communities, yesterday announced that he was joining Kadima and would run in the party's primaries for the Knesset.

The former IDF spokesman's announcement came a day after two well-known figures said they were joining the Likud - former minister Binyamin Begin and former IDF spokeswoman Miri Regev.

Livni presented Shai at Kadima's Knesset faction session yesterday and said he was "part of the attractive face Kadima wants to show the electorate."

Shai would be able to contribute to Kadima on issues pertaining to the Jewish world, Zionism and the Diaspora, Livni said.

Shai, who served as IDF spokesman during the first Gulf War, became a household name when he helped to keep people calm in radio broadcasts after Scud alarms. He has served as Broadcasting Authority chairman and founded Channel 2.

Shai said he tried to join Kadima three years ago, when a committee selected the party's Knesset list, but had been turned down.

"This is the first time I've come down from the bleachers and entered the court," he said. Explaining why he decided to go into politics, Shai said, "I'm an Israeli. I have no other place. I want to keep that. I ask myself what country will my granddaughter live in? Will it be a Jewish country? Will she be safe?"

"Despite the public's contempt, the political system is the most important one and makes the most critical decisions," he said.

The Likud's MK Yuli Edelstein said that "if Kadima forms the next government, it will need a PR person on Shai's level to explain its many failures and shortcomings."

Meanwhile Livni and Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz yesterday moved closer to an agreement. Kadima's faction authorized the party's election committee chair, Judge (ret.) Dan Arbel, to advance a move to hold a separate vote for the second place on the list. Since Mofaz is expected to be the only candidate, his place as No. 2 would be assured.