Israeli Defense Minister, Shaul Mofaz, announced on Sunday that he is quitting the Likud and joining the Kadima party, which was formed recently by the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon.
Sharon said on Sunday that Mofaz informed him of his decision yesterday, adding that he “was pleased with this decision”.
Mofaz announced his decision during a press conference in Tel Aviv on Sunday, and said that he “no longer feels as part of the Likud party which is drifting to the extreme right”.
Meanwhile, Benjamin Netanyahu who is considered the front Likud runner according to recent polls, accused Kadima members of having “no morals or principles and ideals”.
Also, Mofaz said that “there is no other way to influence the events in Israel than with Kadima”, adding that he would serve as the “right-wing cursor” that will counter the “leftist influences” carried by Shimon Peres and Haim Ramon.
Mofaz called Sharon on Sunday and informed him of his decision to leave the Likud and join Kadima, Sharon told his associates on Sunday.
“I suggested that he joins Kadima and continue to be the defense minister in the next government”, Sharon said, “Mofaz replied positively”.
Mofaz said that the “Likud is governed by the most radical right-wing elements led by Moshe Feiglin, Israeli online daily Haaretz reported, “the more moderate leaders, such as Netanyahu and Sylvan Shalom are being pushed aside”.
Netanyahu reported that the politicians of Kadima were bringing "unacceptable norms" into Israeli politics.
Haaretz added that Mofaz said that he did not leave the Likud as a result of his drop in Likud polls, but because he “realized that the Likud became radical”.
The defection of Mofaz comes one week after Likud Central Committee chair Tzachi Hanegbi announced that he is moving to the Likud.
On, Sunday morning, the Israeli Foreign Minister, Silvan Shalom, said he is the only Likud leader who could save the party.