Bibi at Likud rally.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu might have thought that his only opponent in
the January 31 Likud primary would be party activist Moshe Feiglin.
RELATED:Feiglin adopts Obama’s fund-raising strategy
new foe surfaced Sunday.
A group of Likud activists who have registered
thousands of members eligible to vote in the race called on Sunday for a boycott
of the primary to protest Netanyahu’s policies. The group intends to start a
campaign on Monday with advertisements urging a boycott that could call the
election’s legitimacy into question.
The slogan of the campaign will be:
“This time vote from your couch.”
“Netanyahu is cynically trying to use
these elections for political thievery,” said Natan Engelsman, one of the heads
of the Likud’s Judea and Samaria branch, who initiated the boycott. “He
purposely advanced the race so another candidate couldn’t run. If less than 50
percent of the members vote, the election won’t be regarded as legitimate, and
there will have to be another election for head of the party.”
activists cite Netanyahu’s support for a Palestinian state, his failure to build
enough in Judea and Samaria and his opposition to legalizing the Migron outpost
in its current location as reasons to not vote for him.
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“We call upon
Likud members who are interested in a lively, democratic party to skip this
race,” Engelsman said. “Netanyahu will get elected in any case, but we hope to
at least get a message across to him and influence his future
While most of the campaign targets Netanyahu, the activists
also urge Likud members not to vote for Feiglin, who they call an “irrelevant”
candidate whose repeated hopeless runs for Likud leader have weakened the
national camp in the party.
“There is no point in voting for Feiglin, who
will always be seen as a foreign influence on the party and will never be
accepted,” one of the organizers of the campaign said.
that the boycott was pointless because Netanyahu would recognize the result no
matter what it is. He said he did not know whether the boycott would harm or
help his candidacy.
“We have a party chairman who called for the
formation of a Palestinian state and no one other than me decided to run against
him and represent the other side,” Feiglin said. “By running, I saved the
Likud’s self-respect. I don’t understand why they don’t want to support a
candidate who opposes a Palestinian state and represents the true interests of
In response to the boycott, Netanyahu’s campaign chief, Modi’in
Mayor Haim Bibas, said that the primary will take place on January 31, as
planned, and that 130,000 Likud members from all over the country and from all
population groups will participate in democratic elections that will reflect the
“Whoever chooses to vote,” Bibas said, “will impact not
only the Likud’s identity but on the future of the country.”
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