'Kadima' Corruption Scandal; MKs Angry
Members of Knesset from Kadima painted a dark picture of their party's present state in a meeting this week in Jerusalem. Statements from the meeting released by the activist site 'Yalla Kadima' show MKs' frustrations with corruption, mounting debts, activists for hire, and a lack of political vision.
Frustrations were particularly high following a Channel 10 report showing that Kadima is 30 million shekels in debt, yet continues to pay senior party workers up to 70,000 shekels a month, and to spend 23,000 a month on party head Tzipi Livni's office in Ramat Gan.
“I try to recruit people to Kadima, and right away they ask 'How much? How much will I be getting?'” reported Jerusalem branch head Eli Levy. “This is the new party we created?”
Levy also had criticism for the party's attitude towards Jerusalem. “The Jerusalem branch has no home... For more than a year they've been telling us stories about how the party has no money, and suddenly Channel 10 comes along and we discover that we've become a party of big shots,” he accused.
“The party has money to give out to all kinds of big shots, but neglects Jerusalem. Jerusalem remembers, one who doesn't embrace Jerusalem, Jerusalem won't embrace him,” Levy warned. He also told the MKs, “During the last elections I donated my car, and gas, for the good of Kadima, and it didn't even occur to me to ask for money. Today, I wouldn't even donate my bike.”
MKs: Party Lacks Views, Vision
Member of Knesset Marina Solodkin said she “tends to agree” with Levy, and added, “Unfortunately, Kadima has no real party activism, and it is just absurd... Kadima has no clear ideology on almost any topic.”
Regarding party spokespeople, Solodkin said, “I no longer trust them... I prefer to talk to my public independently, through Facebook.” Spokespeople have tried to discourage her from meeting the public directly, she added. “They told me not to go to the housing protest tents and I couldn't understand why.”
MK Avi Dichter agreed. “Look, the problem is that Kadima has no discussions on any topic,” he said. “Not on social issues, or the economy, or diplomacy, or security. If there are discussions or initiatives it is on the private level, like the meetings or seminars I hold, but there is nothing on the party level.”
He also reported attempts to use fear-mongering and dirty politics to sway votes. On one initiative of his, “Members of Knesset got threats. They called each one separately and said, 'You are the only one who signed, why are you the only one who signed with Avi?'” he accused. However, he said, the attempt to scare off his supporters backfired, and he ended up with more support than he had before.
Dichter: Party Spending Out of Livni's Control
One of the chief issues bothering those present was the lack of transparency regarding Kadima's spending. The party's income and spending has been hidden even from its own MKs. “We need transparency! We must know where money is coming from, and where it is going,” said Levy.
Solodkin agreed, and added, “People in the system are getting more money than the Prime Minister, how can that be?”
Party head Livni is in the dark when it comes to Kadima's finances, Dichter claimed. “You know, Livni first heard from me that Kadima had debts of 40 million shekels,” he said. “In my presence she called to find out if Avi Dichter was right and was told that Avi Dichter was right. There is a 40 million shekel debt and she didn't know.”