Netanyahu, Danon to face off in dueling Likud events

MKs Gamliel, Akunis spar over spot in cabinet.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
September 14, 2014 22:57
1 minute read.
Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a special cabinet meeting at the Ashkelon Coast Regional Council August 31, 2014.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Likud activists will be pulled in different directions on Monday night when they are invited to a pre-Rosh Hashana toast hosted by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Petah Tikva and a central committee meeting in Ashkelon.

Each side continued to blame the other on Sunday for planning the events at the same time.

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Sources close to the head of the central committee, MK Danny Danon, said Netanyahu’s associates had threatened ministers and lawmakers, telling them not to attend the meeting. While most central committee meetings have many politicians address the crowd, at press time no minister or MK other than Danon had agreed to speak at the event.

“What matters is that more people come to us than to Bibi,” a Danon associate said half-jokingly.

“We will have 500 activists from across the country in this central committee meeting and there will be more meetings soon.”

A source close to the prime minister said there was no competition and that it was “wrong to resort to conspiracy theories.” He said Netanyahu’s event was closed to the press to make it more intimate, not to hide anything.

Besides the battle between Netanyahu and Danon, another competition inside Likud intensified on Sunday. Both MKs Gila Gamliel and Ophir Akunis staked a claim to the Communications Ministry that Gilad Erdan is expected to vacate in January to become the next ambassador to the United Nations.



Gamliel received a commitment from Netanyahu when the government was formed in March 2013 to receive the first ministerial post that would open for the party. She already made her presence felt at the Communications Ministry at a meeting with Erdan last week.

But Akunis asked for the post for himself in a meeting with Netanyahu last week. His credentials for the post include work he did as chairman of the Knesset Economics Committee on cellular reforms, the Israel Broadcasting Authority, and the effort to prevent Channel 10 from closing.

Akunis said he supported the battle to prevent the IBA English News from being removed from Channel 1.

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