Divorced groups mock Netanyahu for wooing hated former MK

A Likud MK, who asked not to be named, said the decision to bring Mualem into the party was "awful."

PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu announces a peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, during a news conference at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem on Thursday. (photo credit: ABIR SULTAN / REUTERS)
PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu announces a peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, during a news conference at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem on Thursday.
(photo credit: ABIR SULTAN / REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a massive mistake on Wednesday when he announced that he had recruited former Bayit Yehudi MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli to the Likud, leaders of divorced men’s groups said.
Moalem-Refaeli, who served two terms in the Knesset, repeatedly joined with MKs from Meretz and Labor and other left-wing feminist MKs in stopping bills that would reform the divorce system in Israel and enable divorced fathers to spend more time with their children. She also repeatedly proposed bills and amendments that made her public enemy No. 1 for divorced fathers.
Attorney Guy Raveh, the chairman of the organization Shared-Parenting=Good of the Child, said he had registered divorced parents to the Likud because of efforts by its MKs – efforts blocked by Moalem-Refaeli – to cancel the so-called Tender Years Clause, which automatically grants mothers custody of all children if one of the children is under age six.
“I obviously cannot vote for the Likud if it gives a realistic slot to Shuli Moalem, who blocked MK Yoav Kisch from canceling the Tender Years Clause,” Raveh said. “Moalem is a redline.”
Amir Shifferman, who heads the organization A is for Aba and registered thousands of men to the Likud, said he was shocked by the decision to bring Moalem-Refaeli into the party. He recalled that she “shouted in joy while harming defenseless children” in the Knesset plenum when she prevented the advancement of Kisch’s bill.
“The Likud is losing its political path and its values,” Shifferman warned. “She is a Trojan horse serving left-wing parties. The Likud should have done its research and prevented her from harming the party’s image in the eyes of the voters, especially men.”
A Likud MK, who asked not to be named, said the decision to bring Moalem-Refaeli into the party was “awful.”
But Likud MK Keren Barak tweeted that Moalem-Refaeli is a “beloved good friend” and a “significant asset” and said she looks forward to working with her on “important struggles.” Settler leader and Likud activist Avichai Boaron said Moalem-Refaeli is welcome in the party and she made the right decision to join the Likud. He called on more religious Zionists to join her.
Moalem-Refaeli joined the Likud in a meeting with Netanyahu and Likud director-general Zuri Siso. Her joining was seen as part of Netanyahu’s recent efforts to harm Yamina head Naftali Bennett. Both Bennett and Yamina MK Ayelet Shaked wished Moalem-Refaeli well in her new political home.
“I am very happy that Shuli Moalem, a former MK and one of the important activists of religious Zionism, is joining the Likud in a natural way. The Likud is the home of religious Zionism, the home of believers in the Land of Israel and it is your home,” said Netanyahu.
Moalem thanked Netanyahu, saying: “The Likud is the natural home of religious Zionism, of people on the ideological Right. I feel that in these days, when the people of Israel are worried for their health and economy, there is much work to do to fix the world and to bring the State of Israel to its place, and I feel that the place to do this is in the Likud.”
Jeremy Saltan, who was a Knesset candidate on Bennett’s list, said Moalem-Refaeli did not belong in his party.
“I have known Shuli for many years, and I agree with her 100% that her place is in the Likud,” Saltan said. “I see the Likud is looking to recruit candidates from the second tier of our list. So I will save Netanyahu the trouble of reaching out: Don’t try and recruit me – I am a proud member of the party that will one day replace you in the leadership of the Israeli Right and our country.”

Tzvi Joffre contributed to this report.