Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a Likud faction meeting, December 3, 2014.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to unveil the Likud’s campaign at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds Monday night in an attempt to set the agenda of the March 17 election. In the meantime, a recount was required due to the fact that the results of the polling station at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds were counted twice, while the votes at some polling stations were not counted at all.
Netanyahu’s associates have promised to change the dynamic of the campaign at the rally. But the event could end up being overshadowed by problems counting the votes in last Thursday’s Likud primary and the possible defection of Likud MK Moshe Feiglin.
Feiglin looks to host an event at the same time at the Jerusalem International Convention Center, during which he is expected to reveal his political plans. A source close to Feiglin hinted that he could announce his departure from the Likud at the event, because he had hit a “glass ceiling” in the party.
“Now is the time to prepare for the new opportunities and challenges that lie ahead,” Feiglin wrote his followers in the invitation to the event.
“We must not take our eyes off our main goal: authentic Jewish leadership for the State of Israel.”
Feiglin’s possibilities include forming a new party or joining other right-wing parties led by Shas chairman Eli Yishai or Michael Ben-Ari.
Another Likud MK besides Feiglin who did not earn what is considered a realistic slot on the Likud list at the primary was MK Tzipi Hotovely. But a recount of votes Sunday resulted in her remaining in the 26th slot and former Kadima minister Avi Dichter preserving the more realistic 20th slot.
Other effects of the recount resulted in MKs Danny Danon and Yariv Levin rising on the list to the ninth and tenth slots, respectively, and Netanyahu allies Tzachi Hanegbi and Ophir Akunis moving down, though remaining in realistic slots.
El Al pilot and former IDF fighter pilot Yoav Kisch won the realistic 19th slot reserved for a candidate from the Dan region. Kisch, age 46, intends to focus in the Knesset on socioeconomic issues and equalizing the burden of IDF service.
But his views on Palestinian issues are more moderate than those of other Likud candidates. For instance, he supports the creation of a Palestinian state.
“A one-state solution is bad for Israel and extremists pushing that are wrong,” he said. “I want Israel to maintain a Jewish majority, but I oppose withdrawals and there is currently no partner on the Palestinian side.”
Kisch said he was not disappointed that Feiglin has apparently been forced out of the next Knesset, at least with the Likud.
“Feiglin’s views are not those of the Likud,” he said. “I feel I got my party back.”