Landau blames media for Likud fall

Netanyahu vows to remain party chairman, mixed reactions from colleagues.

landau 248 88 AJ (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
landau 248 88 AJ
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) stated on Wednesday that the Likud must take collective responsibility for its downfall, saying "The entire Likud collapsed, not one person or another." Rivlin attributed the drop in his party's power to its support of the economic program "without which, the State could have reached the verge of disaster."
Elections 2006
In an Army Radio interview, he lamented that individuals hurt by the reforms were unable to forgive the Likud for their hardships. In facing the difficulties following the elections, the Knesset speaker insisted that his colleagues not engage in personal power struggles. On the other hand, Likud MK Uzi Landau held the media responsible for the drop in his party's power after Tuesday's elections. He specifically mentioned Channel 2 and the Yediot Aharonot daily for clearly supporting the disengagement plan and for de-legitimizing Likud Chairman Binyamin Netanyahu in the public eye. Click here for a full listing of election results. They "committed a targeted killing against Bibi," Landau accused in an Army Radio interview. Landau recommended that the press undergo a process of soul searching following their alleged bias against the right-wing. The Likud suffered a crushing blow on Tuesday night, emerging from the elections with only 11 Knesset seats, after winning 38 mandates in the previous elections in 2003. Uzi Landau, who was ranked in the party's 14th position, did not meet the threshold of serving in the 17th Knesset. When asked about the possible merger between the Likud and Avigdor Lieberman's Israel Beiteinu, Landau responded that the national interest now calls for the formation of a united right-wing bloc. Sources in the NU-NRP joint party told Army Radio that they had already begun talks with Likud officials on a possible alliance between the two parties. However, they were still waiting for a response from Netanyahu. Formally, Netanyahu vowed to stay at his party's helm, despite the blow it was delivered. "I am committed to continuing in the way that we started to ensure that the movement will be rehabilitated," he declared just after 11 p.m., describing the initial results as a "hard hit" after the "first blow" when Sharon left the party. "We will unite our powers and stick to our path and return the Likud to leading the state," he maintained. "We will see better days." Several party stalwarts also backed his decision to stay at the top, though no one said his job would be easy. "As a leader he should stay and rebuild the party," said MK Gideon Sa'ar, who headed the party's public relations team. "I don't think it's the right thing to do right now, to start another series of internal conflicts within the Likud." Sources close to Likud's No. 2 Silvan Shalom said late Tuesday night that Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu had destroyed the party and could no longer remain its chairman. Shalom himself boycotted a late-night Likud faction meeting at party headquarters in Tel Aviv, opting instead to stay at his Ramat Gan home planning his next move.