(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The residents of Judea and Samaria whose power in the Likud central committee is
expected to be diminished by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu are welcome in
Habayit Hayehudi, according to its party chairman, Science and Technology
Minister Daniel Herschkowitz.
RELATED:Netanyahu sets Likud race for next month
Habayit Hayehudi intends to run on a joint
list with the National Union in the next election in an attempt to unite all the
religious-Zionist parties to the right of the Likud. Officials in Habayit
Hayehudi and the National Union see Netanyahu’s steps against the settlers in
Likud as an opportunity to return Judea and Samaria residents who left their
parties for the Likud ahead of the last election.
“Habayit Hayehudi will
give fair representation to people who live in Judea and Samaria,” Herschkowitz
said. “They are the fruit of our loins, the flesh of our flesh. They should come
back to where they are wanted and appreciated. We promise that in our party,
they will have real possibilities to have influence.”
The Likud central
committee is expected to meet on December 15 to approve Netanyahu’s proposal for
a 30 percent increase in the number of central committee members from cities in
order to dilute the power of the settlers, who Netanyahu believes are
overrepresented on the influential committee.
The rule change passed a
hurdle on Thursday when it was approved by the Likud’s constitution committee in
a meeting at the party’s Tel Aviv headquarters, Metzudat Ze’ev. The proposal
passed nearly unanimously with only veteran Tel Aviv Likud activist Aharon
Meltzer voting against it.
“Residents of Judea and Samaria are the real
Zionists today,” Meltzer said when asked about his vote. “They protect us with
their mission and I don’t think the Likud should be harming them. The proposal
may be technical but its implications are political.”
But other Likud
activists said they were less troubled by the proposal. Michael Fuah, a close
associate of hawkish activist Moshe Feiglin, said he did not attend the law
committee meeting because he believes the activists entering the central
committee from the cities will be no less right-wing.
committee members from the cities are our brothers,” said Natan Engelsman, the
secretary of the Likud’s Judea and Samaria branch. “Adding more of them will
only strengthen the Likud.” Another Likud activist said he expected the proposal
to pass, because defeating it would undermine Netanyahu.
“A party that
wants to rule shouldn’t argue with its chairman,” the activist said. “We see
what is going on in Kadima and Labor and we don’t want to look like them.”