The Likud removed a dozen members affiliated with the “New Likudniks” from the party’s rolls this week, saying that they are not in line with the Likud’s ideology.According to the Likud’s administration, the 12 members booted from the party got their membership through “fraud and deception,” and their removal came after the Likud’s legal adviser Avi Halevi said it was legal to do so without a decision from the party’s court.The New Likudniks is a group that recruits members to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party aiming to be a moderating force in the primaries. It focuses on a free-market socioeconomic agenda and education, but has been met with accusations of being a leftist infiltration of the Likud. Coalition chairman David Bitan and Likud activists began actively fighting the phenomenon after New Likudniks founder Lior Meiri was spotted at the weekly anti-Netanyahu protests in Petah Tikva.There was a Likud court decision pending about the 12, but the Likud activist who petitioned against them withdrew the complaint in light of Halevi’s legal opinion. The now-former Likud members will be able to appeal the decision in the party’s court.Halevi wrote that “based on solid evidence, the New Likudniks, including the respondents to the petitions... do not identify with the goals of the Likud and do not plan to vote for the Likud in the election to the Knesset. Their declarations on Likud membership forms that they identify with the goals of the Likud are false declarations. They achieved the privilege of being Likud members through deception and fraud.”The attorney also argued that, since their membership in the Likud is “a scam and based on false declarations,” it violates the criminal code, and therefore, the party can cancel their membership.The New Likudniks’ spokesman said that “Avi Halevi is not the Likud, the Likud is its members and its voters,” and that the groups leaders have faced “political persecution by corrupt forces in the party.” “The legal adviser does not have any authority to remove anyone from the party, certainly not without a hearing or prior message,” the New Likudniks added. “This is illegal, against the Likud constitution and the Parties Law. It looks like he wants to avoid meeting us in court.”The group plans to go to court to fight the decision.