Web Posters Threaten Kadima MKs

Posters on a Web site for Kadima activists are threatening to end the political careers of three party MKs who refuse to support Shimon Peres in his bid for the presidency.

MK Zeev Elkin supports Likud candidate Reuven Rivlin, MK Marina Solodkin supports Labor's candidate MK Colette Avital and MK Amira Dotan will not say whom she supports, but is believed to back Avital.

"If Dotan does not state unequivocally that she supports Peres for president, we'll act to make this her last term," a poster wrote on the Yalla Kadima Web site.

"I am ashamed of the threats [coming] from my party Kadima. To what depths have we sunk?" Dotan asked. "As a proud Kadima member, I came to the party for another kind of politics and I'm not fazed by the threats."

Elkin accused Kadima director general Yohanan Plesner of being behind the threats. He complained to Kadima faction acting chairman MK Tzachi Hanegbi that Plesner had asked Kadima apparatus workers to ask activists to sign petitions denouncing and threatening him and Solodkin. The move was intended to force them to announce they would support Peres, he said.

Elkin said Plesner had told him he would continue this activity because the prime minister had ordered it.

"But the Prime Minister's Bureau told me explicitly that no such instruction had been issued," Elkin said, asking Hanegbi to intervene.

Plesner responded that "no threats have been made and no apparatus threatened Elkin. There are activists who are angry with him and attacking him a little. He should take responsibility for the political implications of his acts." Kadima sources said yesterday that a gathering of activists Elkin had organized was canceled because people did not arrive. Elkin said he did not know of such a gathering.

Kadima activists have accused Elkin of preparing the ground for leaving Kadima for one of the right wing parties.

Elkin said Plesner wanted Peres to be president because he was next in line to enter the Knesset, assuming that Yitzhak Ben Yisrael steps down.

Meanwhile, Labor's presidential candidate Colette Avital has met some 90 of the 117 MKs not running for president and has asked for their support. She intends to meet the remaining 27 in the next few days.

Her associates said that in the 2000 presidential elections, Moshe Katsav had met all the MKs, while Peres made do with meeting a few prominent ones.

Avital's aides predict Rivlin will receive 50 votes in the first round, leaving a total of 70 votes for Avital and Peres.