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Gaydamak launches Israeli party

A Russian-born billionaire launched a new Israeli party. Arkady Gaydamak said at a news conference Wednesday that Tzedek Hevrati, or social justice, would be a socioeconomic movement, but could turn into a political party “if necessary.” He led with criticism of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s government, slamming the appointment of Amir Peretz as defense minister and the handling of last summer’s war in Lebanon. “My opinion is the government should resign,” Gaydamak said. Recent polls have predicted that Gaydamak’s party would win 14 to 25 seats if elections were held now. Gaydamak, whose popularity was boosted by philanthropic rebuilding projects after the war, remains wanted by French authorities over illegal arms sales to Angola.