Mofaz Kicks Off Kadima Campaign With Call for Mideast Peace Deal

Mofaz makes it clear that he would not join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's current government.

Kadima MK Shaul Mofaz launched his campaign for his party's chairmanship on Monday, saying Kadima's first priority when it forms the next government would be "to do everything so that there'll be one law for everyone."

Speaking at a press conference, Mofaz referred to current Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni in a placating tone that contrasted with his recent harsh criticism of her. He said that after Kadima's election victory, he would offer Livni a senior position.

Shaul Mofaz - Moti Milrod - 31012012
Moti Milrod

Mofaz declared his desire for peace with Israel's neighbors and for a more equitable sharing of the burden of military service.

"As someone who has participated in four wars, I have a great hope to lead a journey whose purpose is peace. We must make the utmost effort to achieve peace with our neighbors."

On the state of the economy he said, "This relates to each of us, and to our children. We will do our best for those Israeli citizens who bear the [defense] burden.

"As someone who served in the army for 40 years, I want to lead a move toward equalizing the burden," Mofaz added. "Today 50 percent of young people serve; in another eight years it will be only 40 percent. We must change this trend."

Mofaz also affirmed support for altering Israel's form of government.

"Our ability to survive on a national level is dependent on our uniting and bringing about a change in the form of government," he said. "We must put an end to a reality in which small, sectoral parties blackmail Israel. The majority in Israel is the sane majority, which serves and is democratic, and will must preserve the character of the state as Jewish and democratic."

Mofaz made it clear that he would not join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's current government.

"I was in favor of unity and as a worldview I believe that it's the right approach, but now that the Netanyahu government has reached the end of its course I don't intend to join it, but to confront it and win."

Asked about the difficult relations between himself and Livni, Mofaz replied, "Kadima's progress hasn't been good, to say the least. We could have done more. Our path over the past three-and-a-half years has been strewn with mistakes.

"I plan to correct them. But Livni is worthy of being in the party leadership," he said.

When asked about polls that show his party doing poorly in an election if he were party chairman, he said, "The day I face off against Netanyahu, the political map will change. Israeli citizens who are in the middle of the political map will join us as a centrist government alternative. A large portion of Israel's citizens are waiting for this change."

Kadima MKs who attended Mofaz's press conference included Ruhama Avraham Balila, Ze'ev Bielski, Yohanan Plesner, Avraham Duan, Shai Hermesh, Yulia Shamalov Berkovich, and Otniel Schneller.

Mofaz did not say who would head his campaign, leading to speculation that he may be saving the position for Avi Dichter, who is himself a candidate for party chairman.

His aides said his campaign slogan would be: "Mofaz. Prime Minister."