New Kadima head Shaul Mofaz took a decided turn to the left in a profile for the New York Times on Friday, expressing support for a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians that would allow Israel to retain most settlement blocs in exchange for territory swaps.

Mofaz is now the leader of the largest party in the Knesset and leader of the opposition. He said that he intends to replace Netanyahu as prime minister. The next elections are scheduled for fall, 2013.

In the interview, Mofaz said that the greatest danger facing Israel was not Iran, but ensuring a Jewish majority and for that reason a Palestinian state must be created. Incentives would induce some settlers to leave areas designed to be part of a future Palestinian state, but some settlements would have to be removed by force.

He also aligned himself with the social protest movement, saying,“My kids are among the young couples that can’t make ends meet. They work hard and can’t finish the month. In Israel of 2012, only part of the population enjoys the fruit of the country’s economic growth. The rich get richer and the poor poorer.”

Regarding the issue of Iran, Mofaz, who himself was born in Tehran, implied that Netanyahu has been using the issue to distract Israelis from social issues. He promised a closer working relationship with the US and said that Obama can handle the Iranian threat.