Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was expected to decide at the last minute whether to
attend Wednesday’s Likud convention at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds despite the
strong possibility that he would not be received well.
booed at a Likud convention in May 2012 and has faced jeers at such events over
the past 15 years.
The prime minister has boycotted the last two
conventions, including one two months ago that he decided to skip at the last
“Last I heard, he is still coming, but he may decide not to,”
said the convention’s chairman, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon.
Likud activists want to boo Netanyahu because they fear that he is working on a
plan to withdraw from much of Judea and Samaria under American pressure. Others
are upset with the prime minister for his handling of the January general
election and internal Likud matters.
Despite calls from Likud activists,
the convention will not initiate an investigation of the party’s failure to win
more than 20 seats in the election, not counting seats Yisrael Beytenu won on
the two parties’ joint ticket.
The central committee is expected to vote
to end the bond with Yisrael Beytenu, despite Netanyahu’s opposition.
the motion passes, it would not bind the prime minister, and he intends to
“The Likud is a democratic party,” Danon said in a quote
implying that Yisrael Beytenu is not. “We will maintain our party’s values, work
to strengthen Likud and restore its soul.”
With the help of political
allies like MK Tzachi Hanegbi, Netanyahu succeeded in removing several
controversial items from the convention’s agenda. The Likud’s internal court met
late Tuesday night to hear challenges from activists that the convention has
been watered down.
The list of proposals that will be voted on at the
convention angered many party activists.
They complained that out of 290
proposals, only 18 were chosen.
“There is great anger at Netanyahu and
the ministers,” said Ashkelon Likud activist Eli Cornfeld. “They have castrated
the central committee, and they will be punished. They are trying to take away
our power, even though the entire party has been on our shoulders for years. A
party that wants to survive does not act this way.”
Danon, Likud secretariat head Yisrael Katz, and ideological committee head Ze’ev
Elkin of serving Netanyahu at the expense of the central committee. He said the
law committee, which selected the convention’s proposals, ended up being a
rubber stamp for the prime minister.
Modi’in mayor Haim Bibas, a staunch
Netanyahu ally, expressed confidence that he could pass his proposal to merge
with Yisrael Beytenu. At its own convention last month, Yisrael Beytenu decided
to temporarily maintain the partnership at Netanyahu’s request.
accepted the request of the prime minister to not decide yet,” an Yisrael
Beytenu spokesman said. “We will wait and see if they decide differently. If
they do, our secretariat will meet to decide how to proceed.”