Former Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said on Friday that his biggest mistake as a politician was joining Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s coalition.
Speaking to Channel 2 News several days after stepping down as the head of Kadima and announcing he will not run for the 20th Knesset, Mofaz said that there was a great distrust between he and Netanyahu.
In 2012, as the Knesset was on the verge of dissolving itself, Mofaz and Netanyahu shocked everyone by announcing a unity government in the middle of the night. Kadima at the time was the largest party in the Knesset. Mofaz quit the coalition ten weeks later after he failed to lead a move that would see haredim being drafted into the army.
"There were cracks in the trust between Netanyahu and me," he told Channel 2. "We had a coalition of 94 seats – an historic opportunity – and I felt he was lying to me, I could not stay there another minute."
Mofaz added that joining Netanyahu’s coalition was the biggest mistake he made in his political career. "I joined in order to create an opportunity that would not repeat itself," he said, “but I did not see that it was all a bluff."
Mofaz also admitted in the interview that he has never been good at “politics in which one doesn’t tell the truth and cuts corners”, echoing remarks he made when announcing his resignation from politics.
Originally founded by former prime minister Ariel Sharon, and for a brief period Israel's largest party, Kadima now has just two seats, and is expected to disappear off the Israeli political map entirely after the March elections.
The party's remarkable rise and fall are illustrated in the fact that just two terms ago Kadima actually led the government with the now-disgraced former prime minister Ehud Olmert at its head.
Mofaz’s resignation leaves Kadima’s future in doubt. The party had announced it would run in the March 17 elections on a list headed by former Knesset member Dr. Akram Hasson. However, shortly before the lists were submitted to the Central Elections Committee, Hasson quit Kadima and joined Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu party.