Livni Vows Kadima Won't 'Sell' Israel to the ultra-Orthodox

Kadima Chair says centrist party will represent Israel, will determine its identity as a Jewish state.

Foreign Minister and Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni on Thursday reiterated her vow not to "sell" Israel to ultra-Orthodox parties in return for parliamentary support.

"Kadima will represent Israel and will determine its identity as a Jewish state, without doing so by selling the state to Haredim," she said.

In September, Livni won a Kadima primary and replaced outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as leader of the centrist party. But not managing to recruit enough parties to join a coalition, she was forced to go to general elections instead of taking over from Olmert as premier as well.

Livni said she chose not to accede to the coalition demands of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, saying "I refuse to pawn Israel's future for the prime minister's chair."

Also on Thursday, the Kadima party approved a motion to cement Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz's place at the top of the party list, behind Kadima Head Tzipi Livni.

The Likud party was quick to criticize the move, with MK Michael Eitan saying it "takes us back to the age of tricks and shticks. It shatters any illusion that Kadima will bring a different form of politics to Israel. If there is any hope in Israel for a new form of politics, it can only come from the leadership of the new Likud."

Sources close to Mofaz had said earlier on Thursday that if his spot is not solidified at the top of the list the unity of the Kadima party would be compromised.