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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he speaks at the Cybertech 2019 conference in Tel Aviv.(Photo by: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
Netanyahu calls Gantz-Lapid merger dangerous
Likud finalizes its list: Haskel back in, Netanyahu speechwriter on list.
The new Blue and White Party is a danger to the Likud, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday, making his first comments after Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid’s parties merged.
“We know there is a danger here. I see things as they are and I am not beautifying them,” he said at a meeting of the Likud secretariat.
Netanyahu warned that there is a “difficult election” ahead, because “the Left is enjoying support from the media through nonstop 24-hour propaganda.
“We have to bring everyone to the polls to convince them...they should first of all vote for Likud,” he said.
The Likud secretariat approved the party’s final list to the Knesset, to be submitted to the Central Election Committee later Thursday. 
After a final ruling by the Likud’s court, cigarette lobbyist Keren Barak’s spot as 25th on the party list, reserved for a new female candidate, was assured. MK Sharren Haskel was bumped up to a realistic 29th place after the reserved place for an immigrant candidate was cancel. MK Avraham Neguise had been in that spot, but because in all previous elections it was reserved for a first-time candidate, the Likud court canceled it, bumping up Haskel, who had received far more votes.
In keeping with Netanyahu’s commitment to Bayit Yehudi, Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben Dahan was put in 28th place on the party list.
Netanyahu also chose to appoint Erez Tadmor, one of his speechwriters, a member of the Likud campaign team and a founder of the right-wing organization Im Tirzu, in 41st place on the Likud list. The spot does not have realistic chances of getting into the Knesset according to all polls conducted in this election season.
“I am appointing a person who is a member of Likud, works and writes for the Likud, and helped us in our elections headquarters. He is a writer, a journalist and a broadcaster,” Netanyahu said of Tadmor.
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