The left and right sides of the Israeli political map rarely agree on anything, but all sides were united on Tuesday in their criticism of Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz, who announced that his party will leave the coalition.
“Kadima is a political corpse that will soon disappear from history,” said Likud MK Danny Danon, according to a Channel 2 News report. “It is a trend party with no values which has again hurt Israeli citizens in an attempt to survive in the political arena.”
Environment Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) also criticized Mofaz's decision, telling Channel 2, “We wanted to make a change here, but unfortunately little political considerations prevented it.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Mofaz announced that Kadima had voted 24-3 to pull out of the coalition because of what he said was Netanyahu’s failure to live up a supposed agreement on changes in the draft law.
Opposition leader Shelly Yechimovich (Labor), who will soon be replaced as opposition leader by Mofaz, said that “the miserable and shameful get together is over. Over the last two months one of the most embarrassing episodes in Israeli politics took place, during which the world of values and ideologies was completely removed and all that remained was just petty politics of survival and intrigues. We must promptly hold an election and allow the public to have their say. The Labor Party under my leadership is prepared and ready for elections, and remains today the only alternative to Netanyahu's failed government.”
Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid took the opportunity to criticize Netanyahu, saying the Prime Minister “completely failed on matters of equal burden. He could have chosen the proper solution of equal service for everyone and a real and necessary integration of all sectors in the labor market. As always, after zigzags and turns, Netanyahu remained at his starting point – surrendering to hareidi activists.”
Channel 2 quoted Lapid as having called on Netanyahu to announce the dissolution of the Knesset and hold early elections immediately. “We are ready for elections,” he said. "It's time to remove this evil government.”
MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) also attacked Mofaz and said his leaving marked the end of Kadima’s political campaign.
“Kadima was born out of the crime of the disengagement from Gaza and died as a caricature,” he said. “It was born without ideology and died without a leader.”
Even Meretz chairwoman Zahava Galon spared no criticism of Mofaz, telling Channel 2, “The man who accompanied his crawling into the government with great fanfare and promises, is offering to leave it without any achievement, with a whimper. Kadima’s short time in the government was the final twitching of the muscles of a party which has expired but hopefully its leaving will shorten the days of the government.”
Netanyahu sent a letter to Mofaz on Tuesday evening, expressing his regret that Mofaz chose to quit the unity government.
“I regret your decision to give up on an opportunity to make an historic change,” Netanyahu wrote Mofaz. “After 64 years, we were very close to a substantial change in the division of the burden. I gave you a proposal that would have led to the conscription of [hareidim] and Arabs from the age of 18. I explained to you that the only way to implement this on the ground is gradually and without tearing Israeli society apart, especially at a time when the State of Israel is facing many significant challenges.”
Netanyahu noted, “I will continue to work toward the responsible solution that Israeli society expects” even without Kadima in the coalition.