Far Right takes over major Likud institutions

National Union MK Michael Kleiner to head party’s internal court; hawks have majority in law committee.

Likud MK Michael Kleiner tea party 311 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Likud MK Michael Kleiner tea party 311
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
It was already clear Sunday night that far-right candidates Danny Danon, Israel Katz and Ze’ev Elkin had taken over the Likud’s central committee, secretariat, and ideological committee.
But on Monday it became apparent that Danon, Katz, and Elkin would not be the most right-wing heads of institutions in Likud. A Likud spokeswoman revealed Monday that the prestigious post of head of the party’s internal court had been won by former National Union MK Michael Kleiner, a fierce opponent of any territorial compromise.
Kleiner boasts on his website that he opposed the peace agreement with Egypt because it recognized the rights of Palestinians.
When the National Union merged its faction with Yisrael Beytenu, Kleiner left the faction, which later joined a government led by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that he vigorously opposed.
“If there are plans in Likud that go against the party’s bylaws, he will use his new post to stop them,” Kleiner’s spokeswoman Sarah Tiktinsky said. “But Sharon proved that prime ministers can avoid implementing the Likud’s decisions.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called Kleiner to congratulate him on Monday and told him he looked forward to working with him. Netanyahu noted that Kleiner received support from all camps in the party in his successful race against Likud activist Emanuel Weiser.
The Likud’s law committee will include MK Tzachi Hanegbi, who admitted that he is a relative dove inside his party.
“I was the only one in the party elected Sunday who endorsed Netanyahu’s Bar-Ilan University speech [in which he endorsed a Palestinian state],” Hanegbi said.
But the law committee has a majority of hawks, including slain Kach MK Meir Kahane’s daughter-in-law Nitza, Shilo activist Shevach Stern, and David Spitz, an ally of MK Moshe Feiglin.
Tension in the party remained intense Monday as MK Miri Regev, who lost the secretariat race to Katz, shouted at him in Monday’s Likud faction meeting that it was wrong that a minister was allowed to head an institution in Likud. She vowed to take Katz to court.
MK Gila Gamliel, an ally of Katz, responded by shouting at Regev that “people who run for office need to know how to lose with respect.”
Netanyahu praised the victors in Sunday’s races in a meeting of the Likud faction.
“The election proved that the Likud is energetic and democratic,” Netanyahu said. “Now is the time to unite our forces ahead of the many challenges that lie ahead. We need to run the country for the good of its citizens.”