Netanyahu to return to Likud party politics

PM to hold Likud rally to counter reports he has lost control of party; Yisrael Beytenu leader Liberman not ruling out merger with Likud.

June 27, 2013 01:00
1 minute read.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu Likud 390. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu intends to return to actively partake in politics inside his party after avoiding dealing with Likud activists for several months, a source close to him said on Wednesday.

Netanyahu will hold a rare political rally next week to which Likud central committee members will be invited. The rally is intended to counter reports that the prime minister has lost control over the party.

Central committee members have been angered by Netanyahu’s absence from the field in the Likud and by his decision to run together with former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party in January’s national election.

Running with Yisrael Beytenu pushed Likud central committee members out of realistic slots on the Knesset candidates list.

Liberman told Yisrael Beytenu activists in Tel Aviv on Wednesday night that steps to merge his party with the Likud would only be considered after the October 22 municipal elections.

He said in closed conversations that regarding a merger, “the ball is in the Likud’s court.”

At a rally with Likud activists on Tuesday, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon said that if elected chairman of the central committee in Sunday’s election, he would take steps to prevent a merger. He said that if it is proposed that Yisrael Beytenu be given 1,200 slots in the Likud central committee, he would require that the measure be passed by secret ballot, which would give it no chance of passing.

Danon won Tuesday’s election for chairman of the Likud convention, winning 86 percent of the vote. The turnout in the race was only 27 percent.

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