Russian billionaire launches Knesset party, backs Netanyahu to lead

Friday, July 13, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

Russian-Israeli billionaire Arcadi Gaydamak on Thursday officially launched his Social Justice Party at a gala event in Jerusalem.

The party will run in the upcoming national and Jerusalem municipality elections.

Gaydamak, who has made a name for himself by aiding communities that the current government seems to be doing very little to protect from Palestinian rockets, publicly stated that he will not seek a Knesset seat for himself. He did, however, announce his candidacy for mayor of Jerusalem.

On the national stage, Gaydamak and his party will support Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu for prime minister. The tycoon called Netanyahu, which whom he has a long-time friendship, the only national leader “responsible enough to lead the country.”

Given Gaydamak's widespread popularity and perception as a national hero at a time the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was letting the public down, Social Justice is expected to make a very strong showing when next Israelis go to the ballot box.

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