Shalom aims to finish first in Likud primary

Likud MK says Feiglin won't harm party if elected to Knesset.

silvan shalom 248 88 aj (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
silvan shalom 248 88 aj
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Likud MK Silvan Shalom believes he will win the December 8 Likud primary and the second slot on the party's list behind Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu despite the many celebrities who have joined the party, Shalom said in an interview this week. If Shalom wins, he would be second on the Likud list for the fourth time in a row. Shalom won the primaries and the second slot on the Likud's lists in 1999 and 2003. The position was reserved for him in 2006 without him having to run because he finished second in the Likud leadership race. "I hope I will be first again, but it requires hard work," Shalom said. The toughest competition for Shalom in the primary is likely to come from former minister Bennie Begin and former IDF chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya'alon, who have been received warmly by Likud activists since they announced their intentions to run with the party. Shalom welcomed the competition. "I think it contributes to the Likud to present the best possible team and it will encourage many former Likud members to come home," Shalom said. "We have to remember that in 2006, one million voters left the Likud. But they awoke from the illusion of Kadima and they understand that the Likud's path is correct." Shalom believes Likud members will reward him for what he said was "a principled and ideological decision" to reject an offer to join Kadima before the last election. He was the only Likud MK who rejected Kadima's overtures. "If I would have preferred what was good for me personally, I could have gone to Kadima and I might have even been prime minister by now, but I preferred to listen to my conscience and to be able to look at myself in the mirror," Shalom said. Netanyahu tried to take steps this week to prevent far-right activist Moshe Feiglin and his allies from winning a Knesset seat with the party, but Shalom said he had no problem with Feiglin being on the list despite his own more moderate views. "There are 100,000 Likud members who pay their dues and they can pick whomever they want," Shalom said. "If they pick Feiglin and not [dovish former IDF deputy CGS] Uzi Dayan, it's their will. I don't understand why it has to cause damage. The Likud is the one party of all the sectors in Israel. And in the end, it's a democracy." Shalom said the only requirement for running with Likud should be accepting its principles of seeking peace and maintaining security, Jerusalem and the Golan. He said that anyone who joined without accepting the party platform was "opportunistic." Although he believes that sitting in the opposition could lead to a breakup in Kadima, he would advise Netanyahu if he won the election to seek a coalition with Kadima anyway to build a stable government that can last the whole term. He said Netanyahu would not form a Likud-Labor-Kadima coalition without right-wing and religious parties, even if it might be popular in the general public, because it would upset party members who want to maintain the Likud's traditional alliances. A former finance minister, Shalom blasted Labor and Kadima for their criticisms of the changes that he and Netanyahu made in their time in the Treasury. He said the real solution to the economic crisis in Israel was to immediately implement on a national level his negative income tax bill that would give the low wage earners NIS 270-400 per month. "The Finance Ministry's plans to intervene in the crisis now are too little, too late and what they are doing is wrong," Shalom said. "We lost crucial and expensive time. They haven't given an answer to the growing unemployment or to the people whose pension is their savings. Instead of attacking Likud, Barak should attack Hamas."