Moving toward the January elections, Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau (Yisrael Beytenu) has found himself united once again with the Likud party – the party of his past and a partnership that the minister calls a “strategic move” battling the country’s splintered political state.

“I have been always a member of Herut and Likud, which derives its inspiration from [Ze’ev] Jabotinsky, [Menachem] Begin and [Yitzhak] Shamir,” Landau told The Jerusalem Post during an interview last week in Tel Aviv. “When I talk about the National Camp, I like to use the analogy of a single apartment building – moving from Likud to Yisrael Beytenu I merely moved within the same camp, or just a different apartment within the same building.

With this joint list we are strengthening the building and strengthening the National Camp.”

In a country experiencing a significant political split, with splinter parties that all wish to promote a national agenda, only by forming unified larger parties can politicians actually derive strength, according to Landau. Small parties, on the other hand, only have the “ability to extort the larger coalitions.”

By consolidating their two lists together, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman have been able to provide voters with one clearer, more informed list, the minister explained.

“We have to move to a situation where we have fewer smaller and special-interest parties which can hold a popular government to ransom,” Landau said. “We wish that the Left would have copied this bold move and created a joint list to really make this a historic election for the Israeli people and good governance.”

While Landau stressed that he hoped the nominee to form the coalition would once again be Netanyahu, he also made clear that as a democrat, he wished that “a worthy, big bloc” was running against Likud Beytenu.

“The public ought to have a team consisting of worthy people, which is able to promote a national outlook without being at the mercy of a small splinter agenda with multiple small parties,” Landau said.

As far as his own position in the Yisrael Beytenu party goes, Landau said he did not view his move to third place and Yair Shamir’s placement as No. 2 as something negative, stressing that he was personally heavily involved in recruiting Shamir to the party.

“I don’t think it matters to any of us who is higher or lower, what is important is that we have both found a very comfortable political home in Yisrael Beytenu and in the joint Likud Beytenu list,” the minister said.

When asked about the removal of Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov from the party, Landau said that he personally feels sorry “not to see many worthy candidates who showed their ability in the past until today on the list.”

He stressed, however, that it was the responsibility of a special committee to present a balanced team to the Central Elections Committee, a duty that he felt was fulfilled successfully.

“Sometimes in order to show new faces it must come at the expense of current figures,” he said. “It is not always convenient and you’re not always happy, but at the bottom line you are happy with the very good result that we have achieved.”

Regarding the party leader himself, who recently decided to resign as foreign minister in order to address allegations of fraud and breach of trust, Landau said that it is important to recognize that Liberman remains the chairman of the party and will continue to run on the joint list in the upcoming elections.

“I believe he has taken a brave step by resigning when it is clear that he does not need to, because it is in the national interest to expedite the legal process so the Israeli electorate will know when they go to the polls that Avigdor Liberman is a true and honest leader who will help Israel face all of its upcoming challenges,” Landau said.

Liberman is someone who Landau said he believes could yet go on to become prime minister one day.

“He definitely has all the attributes that would make him an important leader whose abilities mean that he could hold any political office in Israel,” he added.

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