Analysis: Likud, the anti-ISIS party

As strong as the Likud central committee's desire is to empower itself, its loyalty to its leader is stronger.

June 15, 2015 10:41
1 minute read.

Likud supporters celebrate at party headquarters on Election Day. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Islamic State has captured land totaling more than 20 times the size of Israel by using a strategy of scaring people into surrender with public decapitations.

The Likud has stayed in power using the opposite strategy: It keeps its head, no matter what it does to the rest of its body.

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There have been Likud heads who acted out of their own self-interest and against the party’s ideology, and the Likud has kept them in power and supported their decisions.

The result has been that, while Labor has had several leaders over the past dozen years, the Likud has had only four in its existence: Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir, Ariel Sharon, and Benjamin Netanyahu.

There were predictions ahead of Sunday’s vote that the Likud central committee would vote to give itself the power to select all of the party’s candidates for the next Knesset. That would have been logical. After all, if you give a cat a vote, it will decide to give itself the cream.

But, as strong as the central committee’s desire is to empower itself, its loyalty to its leader is stronger.

That, of course, has its limitations.

Had Netanyahu insisted on pushing the central committee to maintain the status quo, which does not give them the power to choose Knesset candidates, perhaps they would have chosen themselves over their leader.

But Netanyahu is a pragmatic leader, who knows how to give in and compromise when it is convenient. His initial proposal, to maintain the status quo, won only 2.3 percent of the vote, totaling only 62 ballots cast among the 2,689.

The proposal that passed made sense. The current MKs who are more known among the general public will be elected by the 100,000 Likud members.

Most new candidates will be elected by the 3,770 central committee members, among whom they are better known.

Almost all the new candidates who run for Knesset with Likud are central committee members anyway, and that is how the likes of Gilad Erdan and Danny Danon got their start.

It is possible that future heads of Likud are in the central committee right now, getting their start in politics. Perhaps one day, their heads will be protected in the Likud, the anti-ISIS party.

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