Netanyahu visits Mahane Yehuda market to reinforce power in Likud

Benjamin Netanyahu visited the shuk and bought falafel, but did not eat it on his way to the van parked illegally waiting for him.

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu is seen visiting the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem with a falafel, on October 26, 2021. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu is seen visiting the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem with a falafel, on October 26, 2021.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu made a brief appearance on Tuesday at Jerusalem’s Mahaneh Yehuda Market, where he was greeted by Likud supporters who chanted, “Bibi, King of Israel” and “Bennett, go home.”

Netanyahu has visited the market throughout his 33 years in politics to garner displays of his popularity but unlike in past visits, he did not tour the market, peruse the produce or speak to vendors.

Instead, Netanyahu came for five minutes, bought a falafel at Avraham Levy’s falafel stall and returned to the van that was illegally parked waiting for him. He did not speak to anyone or bite into the falafel, but he briefly stood on the door of the van and smiled and waved.

Sources close to Netanyahu said it was important for him to show that he remains head of the Likud, despite rumors that he may retire from politics after the state budget passes into law as early as next week.

At Monday’s Likud faction meeting, Netanyahu said he was swarmed by supporters when he got a haircut in Jerusalem’s Talpiot neighborhood. But Channel 12 later revealed a video indicating that there was just one woman who praised him outside Yaniv Malka’s barber shop on Bethlehem Road.

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu is seen pushing his way through Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda market, on October 26, 2021. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu is seen pushing his way through Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda market, on October 26, 2021. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Netanyahu is planning more events in Likud strongholds, starting with a rally in Beit She’an on Thursday. There will also be events in development towns in the Negev.

“This is all intended to show Bibi is strong and to bring the government down,” Likud spokesman Eli Hazan said.

A Netanyahu supporter is seen wearing a shirt in favor of the former prime minister in Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda market, on October 26, 2021. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)A Netanyahu supporter is seen wearing a shirt in favor of the former prime minister in Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda market, on October 26, 2021. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Netanyahu is not the only one going back to the field. Yamina announced it is forming a municipal division headed by Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked.

The division will prepare for municipal elections that are set for 2023.

The Bayit Yehudi Party, which is not in the current Knesset, said it would form its own municipal division to compete with Yamina, Likud and other parties, adding that it would run together with them in some communities.