(Banner will apear here)

Beautiful Kabbalah Jewelry Judaicawebstore.com
Font Size:

Likud Leans Farther To Right

Likud Leader Netanyahu: "The Likud Party Has Selected Best Team To Lead Next Israeli Government"

Likud Rival Feiglin: "I Am Real Likud & Will Bring Voters From Far Right Back To Likud"

Kadima's Hanegbi: "Netanyahu's Dream Team Is A Nightmare For Likud Leader"

Benyamin Netanyahu (Photo: Amit Shabi)

The selection of a new Likud Knesset list has aroused speculation in Israel about its impact on the upcoming February 10th election. IsraCast assesses the current situation quoting Netanyahu sources who believe that security will drive this election campaign.

Will the new list of Likud Knesset candidates help or hinder party leader Binyamin Netanyahu to win the February 10th election? Netanyahu tried but failed to keep his party rival Moshe Feiglin off his ticket. Feiglin, a hard liner and Land of Israel stalwart, rejects just about any compromise with the Palestinians or Syria and Netanyahu was worried that Feiglin would scare off moderate voters, who might accept the Likud as a right of center party. Netanyahu has tried to project the image of leading from right of center and had backed moderate newcomers to the Likud but they also failed to take realistic places on the list. On the contrary, all the top places were taken by candidates who strongly opposed Israel's Gaza withdrawal carried out by former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. So, inside his own party Netanyahu lost on two counts. But how big a difference will it make with Israeli voters? The jury is still out. Netanyahu tried to put a brave face on by declaring: "The Likud has selected the best team to lead the next Israeli government". However, his political rivals Kadima and Labor are now going for the jugular. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of the ruling Kadima party warned: "The Likud has selected a Knesset list of hardliners that would lead into a dangerous international isolation! If elected prime minister, the Likud would not allow Netanyahu to conduct any meaningful negotiations with the Palestinians or Syria". Kadima's campaign chairman Zachi Hanegbi cracked: "Netanyahu's dream team has turned out to be a nightmare for the Likud leader - the selection of Moshe Feiglin shows the real face of the Likud!" 

Moshe Feiglin (photo: mflikud.co.il)

A joyous Feiglin has no problem with that - in fact, he retorts: "I and my supporters are the real Likud!" On the contrary, Feiglin adds that he Will be able to draw more far right voters back to the Likud after they left because the party "had given up true Likud values and acquiesced in the Gaza evacuation". Knesset Member Gideon Saar, who came in first after Netanyahu, accuses Kadima of stooping to scare tactics. Saar declared: "A Likud government will conduct the political process based on the political reality - Kadima and Labor opted for giving up territory to the Palestinians and Israel gets Qassam rockets in return."

So, how will  the new Likud ticket impact on the February 10th election? Kadima and Labor will go all out to portray the Likud as a far right party that will not budge on the West Bank and Golan Heights and Netanyahu will be hamstrung when it comes to negotiating with either the Palestinians or Syrians. Likud supporters reject this criticism saying the Likud has selected a fair and balanced Knesset list and Netanyahu was wrong in backing 'Johnny come lately news-comers' who tried to jump on the Likud 'band-wagon'. The highly vaunted Dan Meridor for example took only 17th place - the polls show the Likud taking some 35 Knesset seats. On the other hand, Likudniks say that Feiglin came in only number 20 and Netanyahu would be under no obligation to appoint him to his cabinet. In any case, Feiglin and other Likud opponents to territorial compromise will now form a serious 'party within a party' that Netanyahu will have to take into account - it could restrict him if he tries to maneuver in contacts with the Palestinians. For example to vote down his proposals or threaten to bolt the party. Netanyahu talks of pushing his policy of economic development first and a Palestinian state only sometime in the unforeseeable future. 

Netanyahu sources told IsraCast that the Likud leader will not alter his overall approach because of the Knesset list. He will continue to contend that Israel needs security first and only then will there be any chance for peace. If anything, Labor's Oslo process was predicated on the idea that making peace and giving concessions to the Palestinians would bring peace, but that track collapsed onto a colossal failure. So far, the polls indicate that most voters agree. If this is the case, the selection of the new Likud list may not have all that great an impact on Israeli voters when they cast their election ballots on February 10th. With some 215 rockets launched at Israel from Gaza last month, the Hezbollah threat from south Lebanon and the looming Iranian nuclear weapons that will drive this election campaign will be security.  

David Essing

Back To The Top