A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
March 28, 2012- Mofaz Wins Primary, Now Head of a Party Wtih no Future
Shaul Mofaz won the Kadima primaries, ousting Tzpi Livini and making him the head of the party. The upset did not come as a surprise. Israeli pundits have been predicting this outcome for the last few weeks. Mofaz won, despite the fact that polls showed Livni ahead, among Kadima voters. However, Kadima voters were not the story. Instead, it was Israel’s version of Tammany Hall at work that decisively defeated Livni.
Mofaz won 62% of the vote. How does Tammany Hall style politics work in Israel? There are what are called "Kablany Kolot", that means vote contractors. These contractors line up votes among people who are not interested in the party, or the candidates. The contractors of course, receive their indirect compensation in terms of influence favors and who knows what else. A good example of this is the Arab village of Dir El Bari. In the 2009 elections 27 people from that village voted for Kadima. Yesterday, 1,100 from Dir El Bari voted in the Kadima primaries, almost all for Mofaz. To put this into perspective, in all of Tel Aviv only 1,200 people voted in the Kadima primaries.
Does it really matter? No, not really. Kadima is a party with no future. Shaul Mofaz was an uninspired Chief of Staff, and an uninspired Defense Minister. There is no reason to believe that he can bring back a party, that according to polls has lost 2/3 of its support in the past year. That process will only accelerate. There is no reason to believe Mofaz can present himself as a real alternative to Netanyahu. He has proved himself a great Tammany Hall politician, ousting someone with a true public following, but who proved to be a poor politician. That, unfortunately, will be the extent of Mofaz's legacy and that of Kadima.
I have begun reading Peter Beinhart's new book. Thanks to eBooks, Apple sent me an e-mail two nights ago alerting me that the book I preordered was now available. I had not expected to like this book and I was not disappointed. What surprises me, however, is the egregious number of factual mistakes in the book. I will probably write a long review of the book for next week that will post on the TIMES OF ISRAEL web site. If you missed my e-mail yesterday, here is a link to my article from yesterday's issue It's time for the IDF to step up its defensive game