The Likud passed a preliminary vote on Wednesday to set the date for Likud primaries (if the Knesset is dissolved) on Thursday, December 26, which is the fourth day of Chanukah.
Will Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu maintain the support of Likud members? MK Gilad Sa’ar is running against him for leadership of the party. So far, only a few Likud members have publicly come out in support of Sa’ar but it remains to be seen whether party members will continue to support the beleaguered prime minister in the privacy of their voting slips. Will those who would normally support Netanyahu over Sa’ar vote for him as party leader with three indictments hanging over his head and a history of two failed attempts to form a coalition?
MK Yoav Kisch has come out in support of Sa’ar and MK Michal Shir is close to him and is a long-time supporter. Former Likud MK Yehudah Glick also came out in support of Sa’ar on Wednesday.
Sa’ar is also expected to be supported by pro-settlement Likud members and Sa’ar targeted them on Tuesday when he toured the Jordan Valley and criticized Netanyahu for broken promises regarding settlements. Netanyahu promised to annex the Jordan Valley before the previous election, to build near Ma’aleh Adumim and to destroy the illegal Bedouin settlement of Khan al-Ahmar. Sa’ar pointed out that Netanyahu hasn’t fulfilled these promises. (Although to be fair, Netanyahu has been quite busy between trying to form a coalition and fighting Islamic Jihad and Hamas and is currently
running a limited caretaker government.)
“I will conduct a positive, clean and practical campaign,” Sa’ar wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. “I’ll present an agenda for Israel’s future. The nation needs a change to enable the end of the ongoing political crisis, to establish a strong government and to unite Am Yisrael.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)