Coalition chairman to head new Greater Israel lobby

Caucus for keeping all of Judea and Samaria being formed by Netanyahu’s opponents in the Likud central committee.

YARIV LEVIN 370 (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Coalition chairman Yariv Levin (Likud Beytenu) will announce next Tuesday in a celebratory meeting at the Knesset the launch of a caucus for keeping all of Judea and Samaria.
The caucus, which will be co-chaired by Bayit Yehudi MK Orit Struck, is being formed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s opponents in the Likud central committee, who are also hosting an anti- Netanyahu rally of party hawks in Tel Aviv Tuesday night.
Such a caucus existed in the last Knesset, and was co-chaired by then-coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin. But doves in the coalition said this was a much more sensitive time due to serious attempts by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and US Secretary of State John Kerry to relaunch diplomatic talks with the Palestinians.
“It is annoying and absurd,” said MK Amram Mitzna of Livni’s Hatnua party. “It proves how important it is to fix the electoral system and how much we need leadership.”
Livni’s associates said she would not be upset about the formation of a “symbolic lobby with no teeth.”
Hatnua faction head Meir Sheetrit said Levin had the right to form any lobby he wanted and that there was little a six-MK faction could do to stop him.
But other coalition doves said a coalition chairman had to be more statesmanlike, especially the head of a coalition that has 25 MKs on the Center-Left in Hatnua and in Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid.
Levin said he completely disagreed with the criticism.
“I don’t work for them,” Levin said. “If they want my job, they can have it.”
Labor MK Hilik Bar, who heads the Knesset Caucus for Promoting the Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Arab Conflict, said Levin’s lobby proved Yesh Atid and Hatnua do not belong in the coalition.
“The dream of all Israelis and Jews is to live in Greater Israel but unfortunately, the political reality makes that impossible if Israel wants to guarantee its future as a Jewish democratic state in Israel,” Bar said.
“The fact that the head of the coalition heads the lobby for Greater Israel proves that the prime minister’s declarations about two states for two peoples are a fictitious fraud. The government does not really intend to achieve peace. Livni and Lapid say they favor two states but it is absurd to say that when their coalition chairman heads this lobby.”
Netanyahu’s office said he had no comment about the formation of Levin’s caucus.