Likud's right gears up to fight 'Bar Ilan 2' speech

Danny Danon says Netanyahu should present foreign policy to his own party first; some MKs fear what that means for the party's right wing.

Joint session of the US Congress 311 (R) (photo credit: Jim Young / Reuters)
Joint session of the US Congress 311 (R)
(photo credit: Jim Young / Reuters)
The Likud’s right wing geared up for a fight before the Pessah holiday, with MK Danny Danon requesting a special faction meeting before Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s anticipated trip to the US next month.
Danon expressed concern Sunday that “instead of hearing from the prime minister what he intends to tell the Americans from him, we’ll end up hearing it first on C-Span, the congressional television channel.”
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Netanyahu is expected to address Congress on May 24, in what some are already dubbing “Bar-Ilan II.”
Likud MKs believe that in the speech, as in his speech at Bar- Ilan University in June 2009, Netanyahu will present key aspects of his foreign policy – and some MKs are afraid of what that will mean for the party’s right wing.
Danon wrote a letter to coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin, asking that a special faction meeting be held in advance of Netanyahu’s trip to America.
Although the Likud faction meets on a near-weekly basis when the Knesset is in session, the Knesset will remain on recess until May 16 – allowing Netanyahu to avoid answering questions from his party’s right-leaning MKs.
Danon asked that during the special meeting Netanyahu present his plans before his own party’s lawmakers.
“There is a special importance for the prime minister and Likud Movement chairman to present his plans first – before Likud faction members – and to hold a faction debate on the details of the plan, ahead of appearing before the respectable forum of the United States Congress,” wrote Danon to Elkin.
The freshman Likud MK – who is one of the party’s most active voices on the Right – said he also planned to hold a mass meeting of key Likud representatives “from the national camp” in the Knesset on the first day of the summer session. Danon said he hoped the meeting will include dozens of local Likud leaders who would remind the prime minister of his need for the support of the party’s right wing.
Elkin said in response that he had not yet received Danon’s request, but that he expected that the faction would, in any case, meet during the first week of the coming Knesset session, in advance of Netanyahu’s departure for the US.