- Social Justice (political party)
Social Justice ( _he. צדק חברתי, "Tzedek Hevrati") is a political party in
Israelheaded by Russian-Israeli billionaire, Arcadi Gaydamak. It was launched by in February 2007 as a social movement, but was transformed into a political party in July that year.
The movement was founded on 21 February 2007. It had been announced in the Israeli media the previous day that he would be founding a political party. Whilst the new organisation was not originally a party, Gaydamak stated that it could turn into one at any time "given the circumstances". [ [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/828813.html Gaydamak announces formation of 'Social Justice' movement] ,
At the time he suggested the movement would not seek ultimate power for itself, telling voters "Don't vote for Olmert, don't vote for Peretz [then leader of Labour] - don't even vote for Gaydamak. Vote for Bibi". Nevertheless, a poll from late February gave Gaydamak's party 14 seats, [ [http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/index.cfm/fuseaction/viewItem/itemID/14871 Likud First, Gaydamak Ties Labour in Israel] ,
Angus ReidGlobal Monitor] while a late March poll indicated it would receive 9 seats if elections for the Knessetwere held (compared to 31 for Likud, 17 for Labour and 11 for Kadima). [ [http://7kanal.com/news.php3?id=224768 Poll: Likud and Netanyahu in the lead, 29 March 2007] , 7kanal.com]
On 10 July 2007 Gaydamak launched Social Justice as a full political party, stating that the need to oust
Ehud Olmert's government justified the creation of a new party. Claiming it could win 20 seats in the next elections and that he was the "most popular public figure in Israel", Gaydamak also said that he would not seek to enter the Knesset himself, though he would like to play a major role in Israeli politics. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/6287274.stm Tycoon launches new Israeli party ] BBC News, 10 July 2007]
It was originally suggested that the party is likely to run in tandem with
Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud, hoping to pick up votes from former Likud members alienated by Netanyahu's financial policies, and even that the movement could eventually merge into Likud. However, following the party's official launch, associated of Gaydamak said that he was not ruling out supporting Labour's Ehud Barak. [ [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/880297.html Gaydamak to hold first meeting of new political party] Haaretz, 10 July 2007]
According to polls in August 2007, support for the party had dropped below the threshold needed to win a seat in the Knesset. [ [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/891883.html Bloc heads] Haaretz, 10 August 2007] However, these polls were taken prior to the party's large municipal effort in 2008. Gaydamak is also popular in development towns, such as
Sderot, and in the Israeli Arab, Bedouin, Druzeand Haredicommunities. [ [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/827864.html Billionaire and Netanyahu-ally Gaydamak to start his own party] Haaretz, 20 February 2007] In January 2008, Gaydamark claimed that his party was the largest in Israel, with 140,000 members (though unlike paid membership of other parties, the figure represented the number of people who had reportedly signed to say they supported the party). [ [http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3498401,00.html Gaydamak's party 'largest in Israel'] Ynetnews, 24 January 2008] According to polls in the same month, the party could win seven seats in the Knesset. [ [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/946121.html Gaydamak as political pyromaniac] Haaretz, 21 January 2008]
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