Moshe Feiglin 311 .
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu began calling Likud central committee members
personally over the weekend, urging them to get out the vote in Tuesday’s party
primary, sources close to the prime minister said Sunday.
a point of calling key central committee members in Jerusalem, where a political
deal could end up helping his competition, Likud activist Moshe Feiglin. There
are 8,700 Likud members in Jerusalem, which is the party’s largest
About 1,400 Likud members in Jerusalem were recruited to the
party by Feiglin’s Manhigut Yehudit organization.
expressed concern that due to the deal, the Feiglin supporters who vote could
outnumber the rest of the Likud members in the capital who show up at the
“Netanyahu needs to make sure there are 3,000 people who come to
vote in Jerusalem,” said the current head of the branch, Mishael Ben-Ami. “Even
if he wins the election nationwide by a landslide, it would be a real blow if he
loses in Jerusalem. Netanyahu’s enemy is not Feiglin, who is not taken so
seriously. Netanyahu’s main enemy is complacency.”
Yehudit members from Jerusalem were elected to the central committee the last
time an election was held for the committee nearly a decade ago, due to deals
that were made and broken. This time, Feiglin’s supporters have made sure they
will be well represented.
Feiglin’s representative in Jerusalem, Dr.
Nitza Kahane, worked out a deal with a group of Jerusalem vote contractors led
by Dudu Amsalem, Yisrael Yehoshua, amd Yitzhak Kaufman.
ideological groups in the Jerusalem branch are also part of the deal.
the deal is honored, Manhigut Yehudit and their ideological allies will control
half of the Likud central committee slots from Jerusalem and 45 percent of the
Jerusalem branch council. Netanyahu’s allies said it was possible the members
signed up by the vote contractors would not bother showing up to vote knowing
the deal made their votes in the central committee election superfluous. This
would harm Netanyahu in the leadership race.
“I am out of the deal and
against deals,” Ben-Ami said. “I want people to come and vote Netanyahu. There
are central committee members in Jerusalem who considered riding on Netanyahu’s
back in the election but instead, they made a deal and put a knife in his
Ben-Ami said there were 50 similar deals in branches around the
country. He said Jerusalem was a microcosm for the rest of the
Kahane, who is the daughter-in-law of controversial former MK
Meir Kahane, downplayed the fears of Netanyahu’s allies that the deal would harm
the prime minister.
“We decided not to put Feiglin in the deal, because
it couldn’t work,” she said. “I wish it were true that only the Feiglin
supporters would come and vote. But people will come and vote for whoever they
Kahane said the deal was intended to ensure the revival of
the Likud’s Jerusalem branch, which has had almost no political activity for
nearly 10 years.
“There is a lot of hatred and bad blood in the branch,”
she said. “A lot came from divisiveness in the branch. Our goal was to end the
tension in the branch.”