A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Shaul Mofaz Beats Tzipi Livni for Kadima Leadership

Maybe the whole "Israel Loves Iran" fad isn't just an Internet meme: Israel's main opposition party, Kadima (technically the largest party in the Knesset by one seat over Likud), has just elected an Iranian-born leader. Former IDF Chief of Staff and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, born in Tehran (of parents from Isfahan) in 1948, defeated Tzipi Livni for the party leadership in today's primary.

Shaul Mofaz
Mofaz, who followed Ariel Sharon into Kadima from Likud, had challenged Livni in 2008 but lost; this year he assembled a number of key allies and won a hard-fought race. Although Kadima won more seats than Likud in the 2009 elections, it was unable to form a coalition, while Likud under Binyamin Netanyahu formed the current strong rightist bloc.

A third candidate for the Kadima leadership, former Shin Bet Director Avi Dichter, recently withdrew and threw his support to Mofaz.

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