Likud activists upset that ministers failed to give them jobs

Hundreds of Likud activists slammed their party's ministers for not appointing them to political patronage positions, at a rally in Or Yehuda on Sunday night. The activists complained that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did not appoint Likud central committee members to positions in his bureau and that other Likud ministers did not appoint party activists as directors-general of their ministries. This was a sign that Netanyahu and the other ministers intended to betray the party's ideology, they warned. "Netanyahu's office is full of foreign workers," Likud Ashdod branch head Shlomo Portal told the crowd. "We don't want jobim [political patronage positions]. We don't want to violate the law. But we want to serve the public and we shouldn't be disqualified because we are Likudniks." Uri Farej, who was the main organizer of the event, said he would propose returning the power to select the party's Knesset candidates list to the central committee at the next Likud convention, which is not expected to be held until March 2010. Activists complained that the current system of having the 100,000 party members select the MK candidates was too expensive for candidates, who believe they have to send brochures to all of them to get elected. The activists said the Likud's election effort was harmed by Netanyahu's decision not to employ central committee members in the campaign. Netanyahu should not repeat the mistake, they said. "Unfortunately our leadership did not take advantage of the power of the grassroots inside the Likud and we lost four or five mandates because of this," Farej said. "A party that respects itself gives power to its activists in the field."