Likud MKs are worried about Netanyahu's scandals

"Bibi is becoming a real problem... It is becoming unbearable. I like Bibi very much, but he keeps on bringing trouble on his head and ours."

bibi netanyahu frank 224 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
bibi netanyahu frank 224
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The recent scandals surrounding Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu's trips abroad could do serious damage to the party ahead of the next general election, Likud MKs said over the weekend. The MKs responded to Yediot Aharonot's article on Friday about Netanyahu's trips to France and Channel 10's recent reports about his visits to London. They said they were disappointed that Netanyahu did not apologize for his behavior when he responded to Channel 10's reports last week. "Bibi is becoming a real problem," said one MK, who is considered a Netanyahu ally. "It is becoming unbearable. I like Bibi very much, but he keeps on bringing trouble on his head and ours." Another Likud MK predicted in private conversations that the party would see the consequences of the scandals in falling poll numbers. Netanyahu's associates said they were not concerned about the murmurings inside the faction. They said the overwhelming majority of the faction was united behind Netanyahu, both publicly and privately. "They are staunchly behind Bibi and they understand that it is a witch hunt, an orchestrated effort to prevent the Likud from returning to power and Bibi from becoming prime minister," a Netanyahu associate said. "This isn't Bibi getting into trouble. It's people trying to prevent the people from receiving what they really want." Netanyahu's associates said they were "disturbed" that the press continued to focus on him while downplaying investigations of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's real estate problems and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's political appointments. Speaking to reporters following a breakfast with US Vice President Dick Cheney, Netanyahu highlighted statements Livni made to Channel 2 on Friday about Jerusalem being on the negotiating table and called upon Shas to leave the coalition. "Don't let the negotiations continue," Netanyahu said in a message to Shas. "Don't let a Palestinian flag fly from the Temple Mount. Leave the government now." Shas head Eli Yishai's spokesman responded that Livni's office clarified after the interview that Jerusalem had not officially been raised in the talks. Netanyahu told Cheney it was not right for him to be leading efforts to prevent Iran's empowerment while advancing diplomatic talks with the Palestinians. Netanyahu told him that the two issues were connected because a deal with the Palestinians could lead to Hamas, Iran's proxy, gaining sovereignty over east Jerusalem.