At the Kadima Party's campaign-concluding conference in the northern city of Kiryat Motzkin last night, Sheetrit said, " We have former members of Labor, and former members of the Likud, and people who were not in any party. We are no longer carrying the baggage of the legacy of Ze'ev Jabotinsky or Berl Katznelson on our backs."



Both Sheetrit and another Kadima figure, Shimon Peres, said they are not afraid of Hamas. "We are not worried about Hamas, and they do not pose a threat to us," Sheetrit said.



Peres was even more confident: "We know there is nothing to be afraid of. In none of Israel's wars has the IDF ever been more complete, stronger and more protective than today."



Other speakers included Ministers Gideon Ezra and Ze'ev Boim.



Minister Ze'ev Boim - formerly of Likud, now of Kadima - was contacted for his response to Sheetrit's remarks, but refused to comment.



Sheetrit's comments underscoring a lack of ideology in Kadima were reminiscent of remarks made last year by Kadima leader and prime ministerial candidate Ehud Olmert. In a speech in New York in June 2005 to the American Israel Policy Forum, Olmert said, "We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies."



Kadima member Otniel Shneller, a former Yesha Council head, was asked by Arutz-7 to comment on Sheetrit's remarks. He said he does not agree with Sheetrit, but can understand where he is coming from. "Both the future and the past are built on ideological foundations," Shneller said, "even if someone doesn't recognize it. Everyone loves his land and nation, even if he doesn't say so - otherwise he wouldn't live here or be a Zionist... [Sheetrit's intention was] that he wants to skip over the disputes between left and right... and in fact, our togetherness is an important value in and of itself."



Shneller said he joined Kadima because, "though the religious-Zionist movement succeeded for many years in serving as a bridge for the different segments of society, we failed when we started thinking that we know better than everyone else what is good for the entire society."



A-7: "Many segments in our society feel and act as if they know what's best for the entire society."



Shneller: "...I hope that the religious-Zionist movement does not detach itself from the State and the society, and if Kadima forms the government, as I hope, I pray that the National Union/National Religious Party will join the government, and will take part in what needs to be done in our country."



A-7: "It appears that your invitation will be turned down; it is not hard to understand that a public that feels battered, and sees Kadima as the batterer, will not want to join it, but will want to - how does Olmert call it? - 'turn inward' for a while."



Shneller: "If that is what happens, I will see this as a failure on the part of the religious-Zionist public."



Minister Sheetrit made headlines last month when he met with junior high school girls from Beit El, and treated them to a torrent of sarcasm, anger and insulting remarks. Beit El Education Department Chairman Menachem Lev, who was present for part of the meeting, later said, "He simply lost it. It was very bad. He interrupted them, yelled a lot, and mocked them again and again."



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