Netanyahu wants celebrities in Likud

Sources say Likud chair considering different options to put public figures on party's list for next Knesset.

netanyahu bibi 224 88 (photo credit:)
netanyahu bibi 224 88
(photo credit: )
Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu is considering several different options to allow several well-known public figures to make the party's list for the next Knesset, sources close to Netanyahu confirmed on Tuesday. No final decisions have been made, but Netanyahu is considering alternating between current Likud MKs and new people in the party's first 23 slots, or switching off between them every five places on the list. According to one idea, Netanyahu will recommend the candidates and the Likud membership will rank them. Netanyahu is interested in reserving slots for former generals Moshe Ya'alon, Uzi Dayan and Yossi Peled, former police superintendent Assaf Hefetz, his former bureau chief Yehiel Leiter, the grandson and namesake of revisionist leader Ze'ev Jabotinsky, former basketball star Tal Brody and hi-tech executive Yair Shamir, the son of former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir. Sources in the Likud said that one reason that Netanyahu was proposing so many reserved slots was that he is trying to get approval for as many as possible when an eventual compromise is made. Such a change in how the Likud list is selected must be approved by two thirds of the party's central committee. Likud MKs, who met with Netanyahu in recent days, expressed outrage at the large number of reserved slots he was asking for, which could prevent them from becoming ministers in the next government. Netanyahu will also face opposition from central committee members and former MKs who would not be able to enter the Knesset until slot 24 and beyond on the list. "Every member of Knesset must be chosen by the people and should not be appointed," Likud MK Reuven Rivlin said. "The merit of the Likud is that we believe in democracy. I know that it would help the Likud leader get elected if he brought in new people who could add synergy, but we can't change the system." Rivlin said he was concerned that the newcomers were merely taking advantage of the Likud's popularity. He said he was ready to accept reserved slots for two or three big names but that the rest must compete among the Likud membership, who will decide whether they are a proper fit. Netanyahu's associates said that adding fresh names would help bring the party centrist voters who are fed up with Kadima, and ultimately allow more Likud MKs to enter the Knesset. They revealed that another reason Netanyahu was interested in reserving slots was that he wanted to prevent far-right activist Moshe Feiglin and his allies in the party from entering the Knesset. Feiglin responded that he and his Manhigut Yehudit movement represented traditional Likud values while most of the names mentioned of potential newcomers came from the Left. "It is shocking that after Netanyahu allowed the entire party membership to select the Likud's list, he is now trying to go the opposite way and parachute people in," Feiglin said. "Bringing in left-wingers won't help the Likud. Democracy doesn't have to be canceled to bring in new people. This would only distance voters from the Likud."