Danon makes political comeback in World Likud

Proposal to disperse Knesset set for vote

 Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Former Likud minister Danny Danon returned to politics and was elected to his former post as World Likud chairman in an online vote by the World Likud council Sunday night.
Danon left the cabinet, Knesset and World Likud chairmanship in 2015 when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed him ambassador to the UN. He had been World Likud chairman for a decade.
“After five years of service at the UN as a representative of the State of Israel, I look forward to continuing to faithfully and devotedly serve the people of Israel and the Likud in Israel and in the Diaspora,” Danon said. “I thank my friends from Israel and globally for the trust they have placed in me. I consider the position of chairman of the World Likud an important mission, and I will continue to proudly represent the Likud movement and the State of Israel with loyalty and dedication.”
Danon’s victory will be challenged in an internal Likud court. Likud faction chairman Miki Zohar, who intended to run for the post, had received an injunction from the court to prevent the vote, but it was ignored.
Zohar, who is close to Netanyahu, had made a deal with outgoing World Likud chairman Yaakov Hagoel, who quit the post to become chairman of the World Zionist Organization. According to the deal, Zohar was supposed to be the only candidate to replace Hagoel, a longtime Danon ally. But Danon issued his candidacy by Friday morning’s deadline.
Zohar turned to the Likud court instead of running and warned that Danon could be kicked out of the Likud for violating the injunction.
“This was a disrespectful political maneuver,” Zohar said. “From what I hear, it’s a move not only against me but against Netanyahu, too.”
Danon responded that he won the race fair and square and that Zohar needed to go to the World Likud’s court and not the court of the party.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu’s coalition will face challenges this week from no-confidence votes on Monday and a proposal to disperse the Knesset on Wednesday, after a Knesset dispersal bill was withdrawn last week.
None of the proposals can pass without the support of Blue and White, whose chairman, Benny Gantz, is not expected to decide how to handle the dispute over the 2021 state budget and the fate of the coalition this week.
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman called on Blue and White to support dispersing the Knesset and initiating an early election. Efforts are underway to reach a compromise to avoid elections.
Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel said he was pessimistic about that possibility.
“There is no compromise on the way,” he told Army Radio. “If there is no budget, the Knesset will be dispersed, and we will go to elections.”