Benjamin Netanyahu .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Likud will continue to lead the country, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, expressing confidence at his meeting with his party’s central committee members on Sunday night.
“My goal is 40 seats in the next election,” Netanyahu could be heard saying in recordings leaked to Army Radio and Walla News.
This year’s election results, in which the Likud got 30 seats “surprised many and showed that the Israeli public gives us, the Likud and the nationalist camp, a clear mandate to lead our country. The message was clear,” he said.
The prime minister slammed opposition parties in the meeting, and even had some choice words for his coalition partners.
Netanyahu mocked Herzog, the Channel 10 documentary about the Zionist Union campaign, saying, “True, we didn’t make a movie about our campaign, but we did a campaign and brought the best, most experienced team that will continue to lead the country in a responsible and successful way.”
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who joined Netanyahu at the meeting, joked about political parties whose names are everyday words, saying that now he can use the word “Kadima” (forward), but can no longer say “Kulanu” (all of us).
“That day will come too,” Netanyahu chimed in.
“The question is if [Kulanu] will become part of us or disappear,” Erdan added.
The purpose of Netanyahu’s meeting was to convince central committee members not to support an initiative to cancel the Likud’s open primary and go back to having its lists for the Knesset chosen by the committee. The matter will be discussed June 10 and go to a vote June 11.
Referring to the central committee’s reputation for corruption, Netanyahu said, it “received a bad name and that can lead to voters leaving us.”
“In every group there are those, even if they’re just a few, just two or three, who negatively take advantage of their power,” Erdan added.
Most of Likud’s MKs oppose putting more power in the central committee’s hands.
One alternative proposal that gained traction is to have all party members be able to vote for the national list and the central committee choose regional representatives.
A senior Likud source analyzed the vote as depending on turnout, because usually only the people who really care – in this case the central committee members who want more power – tend to show up.
As such, Netanyahu is working to ensure polling places are set up around the country making it easier for the central committee members who are less passionate about this issue to vote.