According to media reports over the weekend, a group of Kadima members are looking to split from the party and join Likud. Former minister Tzachi Hanegbi has been spearheading efforts to convince at least seven Kadima MKs – the minimum required to create a new faction – to break off and re-join the coalition. There are conflicting reports whether seven MKs actually support the move. Such a split could help Netanyahu widen his coalition, pass the 2013 state budget, and avoid early elections.
As of this morning, the MKs who had confirmed that they wanted to leave Kadima for the Likud were Otniel Schneller, Ya’acov Edri, Arieh Bibi, Avi Duan and Yulia Shamolov Berkovich. Under the deal in the making reported by the Jerusalem Post, MK Bibi, who is a former chief of the Jerusalem police, will be deputy public security minister, while Duan, who is a veteran social worker, will be deputy welfare and social services minister.
Meanwhile, according to a report in Haaretz, several Kadima MKs who were considered supporters of former party chair Tzipi Livni have been holding their own discussions about breaking off. One idea is to help the more right-wing Kadima group to split the party, and later to join left-wing Knesset factions.
Kadima left the coalition 70 days after joining over the issue of universal conscription to the IDF.
Netanyahu presumably wants Kadima MKs to join his coalition in order to get the necessary number of votes in the Knesset to pass his party’s conscription bill, currently being worked on by Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon. That proposed legislation would grant ultra-Orthodox Jews the right to defer service until the age of 26.