Likud poll could alter Netanyahu's fate

man voting 298 AJ (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
man voting 298 AJ
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The battle for the top slot after Netanyahu is expected to be fought between former science minister Bennie Begin, former IDF chief of General Staff Moshe Ya'alon and former foreign minister Silvan Shalom, who has been No. 2 on the list for the last three elections. The candidates near the top of the list are also expected to include MKs Gideon Sa'ar, Reuven Rivlin, Yuval Steinitz, Gilad Erdan, Moshe Kahlon, Limor Livnat and Yisrael Katz. Sources close to Netanyahu said that if he became prime minister, the results of the primary would not impact his choice of ministers. Kadima and Labor officials expressed confidence that no matter who won the primary, the list would be so right-wing that it would damage Netanyahu's efforts to reach out to undecided centrist voters. They said they were ready to unleash a fierce attack against Netanyahu, using his Knesset slate to bring him down. Netanyahu continued his efforts on Sunday to persuade Likud members to support the candidates that he endorsed in an effort to build a more centrist list. His list includes doves like former IDF deputy chief of General Staff Uzi Dayan and former police superintendent Assaf Hefetz, as well as candidates who could help him win support from particular population sectors, like MK Yuli Edelstein and Netanyahu's former bureau chief Yechiel Leiter. Likud MKs privately criticized Netanyahu for what they called unprecedented and unnecessary interference in the race. They warned that the move could backfire for Netanyahu and persuade party activists to purposely oppose his endorsed candidates and perhaps even vote for Netanyahu's nemesis, party activist Moshe Feiglin.