Gaydamak Launches Party, Backs Netanyahu for PM

Arcadi Gaydamak says his new “Social Justice” party will back Likud Chairman Binyamin (Bibi) Netanyahu for Prime Minister in the next election.

Hana Levi Julian,

Russian-born Israeli business tycoon Arcadi Gaydamak has announced that his new “Social Justice” party will back Likud Party Chairman Binyamin “Bibi” Netanyahu for Prime Minister in the next elections.

Gaydamak proclaimed his support for Netanyahu at the founding meeting of his party Thursday night at the Ramada Renaissance Hotel in Jerusalem. More than 2,000 supporters attended the bash, many of whom spoke Russian.

Although the billionaire said he wants his party to win big in the next national elections, he felt that Netanyahu, a former prime minister, was the best man for the job. Netanyahu is not officially a candidate for prime minister yet - he must face off with Jewish Leadership faction head Moshe Feiglin in the upcoming Likud primaries next month.

Gaydamak described his high hopes for the party, which he said would come to prominence “because of my image and thanks to my activities.”  Those activities included providing respite holidays and a tent city to safely house hundreds of residents away from the action as they fled their northern communities during last summer’s Second Lebanon War. Gaydamak also picked up the tab for respite holidays and the overnight construction of a tent city in Tel Aviv to house residents from Sderot fleeing a particularly intense spate of Kassam rocket attacks this year.

He reiterated his intention to run in the next municipal elections for Mayor of Jerusalem as well.

“The Muslims live in this city with no hope and we have to make that better,” he said. “Muslims and Jews have not lived peacefully side by side for a long time,” he explained.

The list of Social Justice candidates for the Knesset seats presented at the party included Ashkelon City Councilmember Sofa Beilin, Israeli Handicapped Organization head Shlomo “Momo” Elnekaveh and political sociologist Dr. Shlomo Tzadok.

Elnekaveh supported former Labor Party Chairman Amir Peretz, who was also ousted as Defense Minister when Ehud Barak took over the party last month. Dr. Tzadok briefly caught the limelight after submitting Gaydamak’s name as a nominee for the Israel Prize last year.