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(photo credit: courtesy)
Former Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball star Tal Brody formally joined the Likud's Knesset race on Tuesday morning at a press conference with party chairman Binyamin Netanyahu at the Likud's Tel Aviv headquarters.
"Tal put basketball on the map and he will help put Likud on the map once more," said Netanyahu at the gathering.
Brody had been rumored to run for months, but he waited to announce his candidacy until he determined what his chances were of entering the Knesset. He will face stiff competition in the December 8 primary from the Likud's current MKs and the many public figures who have recently joined the party.
Brody is best known for leading Maccabi to its historic win over powerful CSKA Moscow in the 1977 Euroleague basketball semifinal, which was seen as a defeat by Israel of the Soviet Union that armed and supported many of its enemies during the Cold War.
Brody will become the fourth former resident of the United States to enter the race, joining Netanyahu's former chief of staff Yechiel Leiter, Government Press Office director Danny Seaman and Legal Forum for the Land of Israel co-chairman Yossi Fuchs.
The four candidates will take part in a forum open to the public at 8 p.m. Tuesday night at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center. The event, which will be webcast live at www.likud.org.il/eng, is sponsored by Likud Anglos, the English speaking division of Likud that has seven chapters in Jerusalem, Ra'anana, Netanya, Haifa, Tel Aviv, Bet Shemesh and Modi'in.
Seaman is running for the 28th slot on the Likud list, reserved for a candidate from the Southern District, and Fuchs is running for the 37th slot, reserved for a candidate from Judea and Samaria. Brody and Leiter are both running for a national slot, places 2-19 on the list.
A native of Scranton, Pennsylvania and a resident of Eli in the Shomron, Leiter served as deputy director-general of the Education Ministry where he was involved in the planning of a major overhaul of the educational system. As Netanyahu's chief of staff in the Finance Ministry, he took an active role in Netanyahu's economic reforms.
Seaman considers himself a New Yorker but lived in many places growing up, including Ashkelon. As head of the GPO, he faced off for years with members of the foreign press who he has considered antagonistic to Israel.
Fuchs, who moved to Israel from Brooklyn at age three, led legal campaigns against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Vice Premier Haim Ramon and former finance minister Avraham Hirchson.
Other former Americans are still considering joining the race ahead of Wednesday's deadline. There are also immigrants from the US and Canada running in other parties.