MK Avi Dichter
MK Avi Dichter Israel news photo: Flash 90

Former Shin Bet head MK Avi Dichter is bowing out of the race for the leadership of Kadima and joining the camp that supports MK Shaul Mofaz – a former Chief of Staff and Minister of Defense. The move is bad news for MK Tzipi Livni – a former Mossad agent – who currently leads the party, because Mofaz is her main rival in the primaries that are to be held one week from now.   

Polls show that if Dichter throws his support behind Mofaz, Mofaz has a good chance of unseating Livni in the first round of voting.

Dichter and Mofaz were about to hold a joint press conference in the afternoon.

According to unofficial Kadima website Yalla Kadima, polls carried out by Livni's camp also show that Dichter has the ability to decide the campaign in Mofaz's favor.  

"Shaul and I have much in common to unite us, while Tzipi Livni has already proven that she has failed. Kadima must not continue to be the venue for Tzipi Livni's experiments."

Mofaz will now have the support of 14 Kadima MKs, while Livni has the support of 13.

A poll published Wednesday gave Livni the advantage over Mofaz among about 96,000 Kadima members eligible to vote in the primaries. However, Mofaz has more grassroots support from central activists. Livni will hold a gathering for female members of Kadima Thursday night, in the hope of using the gender card to trump Mofaz. 

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