Uzi Dayan joins Likud, hails Netanyahu for fight on corruption

Former deputy chief of staff says he has been guaranteed he will be part of party's leadership.

bibi dayan 224 88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
bibi dayan 224 88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Former IDF deputy chief of General Staff, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Uzi Dayan, officially joined Likud at a press conference with opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday. The addition of Dayan gives the Likud its highest-ranking soldier as a Knesset candidate since former IDF chief of General Staff Shaul Mofaz left the party. It also gives Netanyahu the stamp of approval of one of the top activists against corruption in Israeli politics. Dayan ran in the last election under the banner of his Tafnit Party, which ran on an anti-corruption platform. The party did not receive enough votes to pass the electoral threshold. A former head of the National Security Council, Dayan led unsuccessful efforts to force Olmert to resign following the publication of the Winograd Report on the Second Lebanon War. He has also been involved in advocating on social issues and formed an organization called A Security Fence for Israel to lobby for the completion of the West Bank security barrier. "After the army I waited three years, because I think a cooling off period is necessary. Then I founded Tafnit, which has decided today to join the Likud," he said at Monday's press conference. Dayan said Tafnit's agenda was preserving a Jewish, Zionist and democratic state, fighting Hamas in Gaza, isolating Syria, preventing Iran from nuclearization, ensuring a strong economy and education system, strengthening the periphery and guaranteeing a clean political system. He said he supported changing the political system to return the power to the people and decreasing the number of ministers. "We in Tafnit realize we cannot realize this agenda without a larger framework no matter how right we are," he said. "The Likud under Netanyahu wants this and has the ability to do it. He cares about the state and not just his seat in government. "Tafnit is joining the Likud. A full agreement will be reached that will be brought to a vote in both parties' institutions. I am joining as an equal. All that has been offered to me is hard work. I didn't ask for a reserved slot [on the Likud list] and I have not been promised a reserved slot. Regarding Tafnit's anti-Likud commercials in the last election, he said that Tafnit "always raised the banner of corruption and will continue to do so." Dayan hailed Netanyahu for cleansing his party and said he was proud to join people like Gideon Sa'ar, Gilad Erdan and Michael Eitan in fighting corruption. "If people are looking for corruption, this isn't the place to find it." Dayan went on to say that he and Netanyahu had served in the same IDF unit and that he had always found the opposition leader an honest man who insisted on transparency in everything he did. Dayan emphasized he had been guaranteed that he would be part of the party's leadership. He denied reports of negotiations with Labor or Kadima, and said that "once it was clear we would join a larger party, it was clear where we would go." Netanyahu welcomed Dayan to the ranks of the Likud, saying he had contributed to the country in many fields and that in every one of them he showed originality and Zionism. "I am sure he will continue to do this from the ranks of the Likud. We served together in complex situations. We will work together on security, social affairs and education. Uzi can contribute significantly on those issues," he continued. Regarding the next cabinet, Netanyahu said that although he was "not giving out jobs," he saw Dayan as part of the Likud leadership. "In the Likud constitution, the party chairman can ask the secretariat to cut the minimum three-year waiting period to allow Uzi Dayan to run. I will do this for more people who can contribute to the party and the country," he said. Netanyahu stressed that he had not made any promises over reserved slots, but that he had not ruled out doing so ahead of the next election. "The key is that we want to put the country in the right direction. The question is what people have proven they can do," he said, adding that he and Dayan wanted "to do real things" in the fields of security and education, among others. Netanyahu refused to get drawn into criticizing Prime Minster Ehud Olmert's remarks over the weekend in which he blasted the law enforcement authorities. "I have no criticism. We need to strengthen the rule of law and I have faith in it."