Likud campaigns to keep right-wing voters

Netanyahu says Israel "will place no limits on construction in our capital"; NGO ranks MKs based on pro-settlement activities.

Netanyahu 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Netanyahu 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel would not place any restrictions on construction in Jerusalem, as the Likud focused on keeping right-wing voters from choosing other parties.
Netanyahu dismissed the EU’s condemnation of plans for construction in the Gilo neighborhood.
“This is our capital, and just as they build in every capital – London, Paris, Washington or Moscow – Israel builds in Jerusalem,” he said at the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting. “We have no less a historic and strong connection to our capital.”
Meanwhile, Likud sources said that, in discussions on the central themes of the party’s campaign, Netanyahu and his advisers expressed concerns that voters were so certain of the prime minister’s victory that they would vote for other parties instead.
The Likud is polling at eight to 10 seats more than Labor, which is expected to come in second place if the current constellation of parties remains.
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The two types of voters the Likud hopes to stop from drifting away are those who would move to other right-wing parties such as Yisrael Beytenu or Habayit Hayehudi, and those who are concerned with social issues and would consider Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid or Shas, following the return of former party leader Arye Deri.
The Likud campaign will continue to emphasize what it called the Netanyahu government’s achievements in social reform, such as free preschool education for three- and four-year-olds, while pointing to Shas and its Construction and Housing Minister Ariel Attias as the reason for high housing costs.
In a related development, Yoav Kish, an activist with “Camp Sucker,” the protest group that fought for equality in the burden of national service, announced on Sunday that he would run in the Likud primary.
Kish, a 43-year-old El Al and IAF reserves pilot, was a member of the Plesner Committee, which was meant to come up with a replacement for the “Tal Law,” which allows haredim to indefinitely put off military service, but was dissolved within a month of its formation in May.
At the time, other “Camp Sucker” demonstrators objected to Kish’s appointment to the committee, saying he was representing Netanyahu’s interests.
Also on Sunday, pro-settlement NGO Matot Arim ranked pro-settlement MKs based on their activities in the 18th Knesset, putting Likud’s Danny Danon at the top.
Danon received 36 points for activities such as voicing opposition to a two-state solution and the 2009-2010 settlement construction freeze.
MK Yariv Levin (Likud) came in third place with 33 points, following National Union’s MK Michael Ben- Ari. MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) was also in the top 10 with 24 points.
“Strengthening settlements is the goal of every true Likudnik, and acting to promote and develop settlements is part of the basic DNA of the Likud,” Danon said. “By strengthening the nationalist camp within the Likud, the next government will be a right-wing one that will make it clear that Judea and Samaria are equal to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.”
Netanyahu appointed Tzachi Braverman manager of the party’s election committee on Sunday. Braverman, CEO of the Ness Ziona Cultural Campus, is a Likud central committee member and has been close with Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, since the 2006 election campaign.
The prime minister has yet to announce who will be the election committee’s chairman, and several party sources said Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon was asked to take the job. Last week, Kahlon, who has consistently been ranked Likud’s most popular minister, announced he would not run for the 19th Knesset.