Netanyahu puts Bennie Begin back on Likud list

Former minister given 11th slot on party's list, while terrorism expert Dr. Anat Berko will be given the 23rd slot.

Bennie Begin  (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Bennie Begin
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu surprised a meeting of the Likud’s governing secretariat Thursday by announcing that former minister Bennie Begin had agreed to accept the 11th slot on the party’s list, which is reserved for a candidate the party leader brings in.
Begin did not serve in the previous Knesset, having been narrowly defeated for the last realistic slot on the party’s list.
However, he agreed to overtures from Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to return, because Likud activists loyal to MK Moshe Feiglin who had prevented him from entering the last Knesset had since left the party.
Netanyahu had sought many candidates for the two slots at his disposal, the 11th and the 23rd – including Jerusalem Post Senior Contributing Editor Caroline Glick and Netanya Mayor Miriam Feirberg – before Begin agreed to take the reserved slot.
Terrorism expert Dr. Anat Berko will take the 23rd slot.
On Wednesday, the secretariat was asked to approve Berko for the 11th slot and another academic, Dr. Limor Saminian, for the 23rd, but the secretariat refused to approve the women without meeting them.
Netanyahu came Thursday with Berko and asked to approve Begin, too. The secretariat applauded the prime minister’s announcement about Begin and unanimously approved Netanyahu’s recommendation of both candidates.
The prime minister called Begin “a true Israeli patriot and a Zionist to his core, who symbolizes the Likud.” He referred to Berko as “a principled person, an acclaimed investigator, a lieutenant-colonel in the IDF reserves, and a woman who has focused on the security of Israel for many years.”
He praised the party for its unanimous approval of the two.
Berko thanked him, saying that Israel was facing great challenges from extremist Islamic terrorism supported by Iran.
“I decided to join because of my staunch belief that only the Likud under Netanyahu’s leadership can uphold the security of the country and not allow all manner of adventures that will endanger the lives of Israel’s citizens,” she said.
The Likud secretariat’s chairman, Transportation Minister Israel Katz, also praised the approval of Begin.
“Bennie Begin is the real Likud,” he said. “The final version of the Likud list is an excellent list, which is varied and represents all sectors of the country.”