Elazar Stern
Elazar Stern Israel news photo: Flash 90

With former Kadima leader Tzipi Livni making a run for the Knesset again in a separate list, a number of Kadima MKs on Sunday announced that they were leaving the party, now headed by Shaul Mofaz, to join Livni in her new “Hatn'ua” (“The Movement”) party. In addition to the Kadima MKs, at least two non-Knesset members are set to join the party – including a prominent member of the religious Zionist community, former IDF Chief Education Officer Elazar Stern.

The Knesset's House Committee will meet Monday to discuss the change in affiliation of seven Kadima MKs, who have filed a petition to resign Kadima and join Livni's list. Among them are MKs Yoel Hasson, Robert Tabiev, Shlomo Mula, Majli Whabee, Rachel Adato, Orit Zuaretz, and Meir Sheetrit. Hasson sent a letter on behalf of the seven, asking that they be permitted to change party affiliation.

Stern, although religious himself, has raised the ire of the religious Zionist community in the past, with his support of the Disengagement, as well as a decision he made in 2007 barring soldiers in Hesder yeshivot from serving in Golani and Paratroopers units, seen as an attempt by Stern to disband the yeshivot. The ban was quietly lifted when Stern stepped down as Head of IDF Human Resources Directorate in 2008.

Along with Stern, it was announced that former National Hasbara Director Yoaz Hendel was set to join Livni's party.

In addition to discussing the Kadima split, the Knesset Committee on Monday will discuss a decision by Arab MK Taleb a-Sana, who on Sunday announced that he was leaving the Ra'am-Ta'al party to join the Mada-Ra'am list.

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