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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Likud MKs verbally attacked the right-wing member of their party Moshe Feiglin, in spite of his third place showing in Monday's leadership race.
Party leader Binyamin Netanyahu's statement Tuesday that he would "clear the party of negative elements" was taken to also include Feiglin and his supporters, who are often seen by other party members as extremists looking to infiltrate the party.
Channel 2 further reported that Netanyahu sought to keep anyone who had committed a criminal offense in the last 10 years from joining the party. Feiglin served six months in jail following his 1997 conviction for seditious acts, publications and unlawful assembly during his protest of the Oslo Accords.
An adviser to Netanyahu told The Jerusalem Post that the party leader had more pressing things on this mind than Feiglin the day after the leadership race.
Meanwhile, other MKs and ministers issued attacks directly against Feiglin. MK Gideon Sa'ar said, "The Likud's way is not his way," while Education Minister Limor Livnat predicted that Feiglin did not have enough support to make it into the Knesset.
A source within the Likud added that Feiglin's third place showing in Monday's leadership race did not guarantee him a spot on the Knesset list, as the two factors were unrelated. He added that there was a spot reserved for a settler representative but there were other candidates for that spot.
But Feiglin told the Post that he was not measuring his success or failure in the party by whether he personally made it into the Knesset. He would be equally happy if other candidates who supported his platform were there.
His standing in the leadership election, he said, and the ability of his supporters to distribute his message "was an achievement." His campaign focused on preserving Judea and Samaria, family values, and education and court reform.
He said he believed there was nothing in his platform that negated the traditional values of the Likud. "I suggest that Gideon Sa'ar look at the laws of the Likud. I represent the will of the Likud," he said.
Voting patterns show that Feiglin has support beyond the territories. In Haifa, for example, he received 17 percent of the vote, and in Netanya 9 percent.
Earlier, on the campaign trail, he took out his Likud card, which he kept in his suit pocket, and presented it to the Post in demonstration of how aligned his views were with the party. Reading from the back, he maintained that all the issues stated there were part of his campaign platform.
"To say I'm not Likud is crazy," he told the Post on Tuesday.