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.”
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
“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
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
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
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