Kadima MK Yitzhaki Resigns in Wake of Winograd Report

Kadima MK Avigdor Yitzhaki resigned from the Knesset yesterday, making good on his promise to quit politics unless Prime Minister Ehud Olmert resigns in the wake of the Winograd Committee's final report on the Second Lebanon War.

He will be replaced by Number 33 on Kadima's list, Shlomo Mola, a member of the Jewish Agency's board of directors, who will be the sole Ethiopian MK in this Knesset, and only the second in its history.

Yitzhaki, among Kadima's founders and a close associate of former prime minister Ariel Sharon, submitted his resignation to Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik, citing Olmert's failure to quit and Ehud Barak's decision to keep the Labor Party in the coalition.

In the wake of the committee's interim report last April, Yitzhaki made an unsuccessful attempt to unseat Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

In turn, Yitzhaki stepped down as coalition and faction whip and he single-handedly called for Olmert's dismissal from within Kadima ranks.

"I had hoped the Knesset would get prime minister [Olmert] to resign. Unfortunately that did not happen," he said yesterday, adding that Olmert is "dangerous for Israel"

Mola, 42, of Rishon Letzion, immigrated to Israel in 1984 in Operation Moses, after walking 800 kilometers through Sudan.

He has headed the Ethiopian students association, held the Ethiopian brief at the Immigrant Absorption Ministry, and served as the Jewish Agency's senior consultant on Ethiopian immigrants.

Mola is a fervent supporter of Olmert's, making Yitzhaki's replacement a big boost for the coalition, which suffers from a large number of rebels, especially among Laborites.