Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu intends to return with full force to work on strengthening his support inside the institutions of his Likud Party after years of neglect, sources in the party said on Sunday.
Netanyahu has not made an effort to maintain and build his relationship with Likud activists in recent years. Party activists said he ended his practice of regular meetings with Likud branch heads three years ago, with the departure of his former political adviser Shalom Shlomo, who now works for Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett.
Netanyahu met with many branch heads last week and he is due to meet with Likud mayors this week ahead of the Likud convention, which is scheduled to take place at the end of the month.
Netanyahu is expected to clash at the convention with the head of the Likud central committee, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon.
The two have been fighting over the convention’s agenda.
Netanyahu and Danon have strong differences of opinion over diplomatic issues, how long to maintain the Likud’s bond with Yisrael Beytenu, and how much power the party chairman should have.
When they faced off at the Supreme Court three weeks ago, Netanyahu won the right to set the convention’s agenda. But the court ruled that Danon could propose an alternative agenda.
The Likud’s comptroller, attorney Shai Galili, wrote Netanyahu and party director- general Gadi Arieli a scathing letter Sunday, in which he complained about the party hiring expensive lawyer Ya’acov Weinroth to represent Netanyahu against Danon at the Supreme Court. Galili demanded Netanyahu and Arieli reveal how much the party paid Weinroth. He complained that the party’s funds needed to be more transparent, especially because they come from taxpayers.
“The Likud cannot use party funds as if they belong to the party,” Galili wrote. “They are the funds of a private person. These public funds are intended to enable democratic processes to take place.”