Merger With Yisrael Beiteinu Won’t Change Likud, Netanyahu Says

November 4, 2012 4:44 pm 1 comment

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the Likud party (R) and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman of the Yisrael Beiteinu party shake hands at a joint press conference Oct. 25 announcing that the two parties are joining forces ahead of the upcoming Israeli general elections. Photo: Miriam Alster/FLASH90.

The Likud Central Committee on Monday officially approved by a large majority the merger with Yisrael Beiteinu ahead of the coming Knesset election.

Before the open vote, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the committee delegates, who had gathered at the Tel Aviv Exhibition Grounds.

In his speech, Netanyahu referred to recent assertions that Yisrael Beiteinu head and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman had come to Likud to take Netanyahu’s place in the future.

“I’ve heard all sorts of talk in recent days about heirs. I have news for you. I intend to lead for many more years,” Netanyahu said. “I believe that at this time it is essential that the nationalist camp unite forces, and that is the reason that I asked Avigdor Lieberman to run on a single joint list with us. I want to be clear. The Likud will remain an independent party and will continue to be a nationalist and liberal party. It will continue to be a movement for all of Israel’s citizens. The unity will not change Likud, but it will change the State of Israel.”

Netanyahu’s comments were echoed on Tuesday by Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar. The two parties will remain independent and will keep their separate platforms after the elections, Sa’ar told Army Radio. The Likud will remain a democratic party and will maintain its values, Sa’ar said.

He added that what had been agreed at this stage was how the joint list would be presented at the elections and which slots would be reserved for MKs from which parties and sectors.

Meanwhile, the deeper issues concerning religion and state, the system of government and controversial legislation will be discussed after the elections.

Earlier, Improvement of Government Services Minister Michael Eitan, who led the opposition within Likud to the merger deal, failed to present on time the 400 signatures required to force the vote to be taken by a secret ballot. During the open vote, only several dozen delegates opposed the deal, out of the thousands of delegates in attendance. After the vote, Eitan said that he accepted the committee’s decision.

Lieberman called the committee’s approval of the merger a “historic and important step that will strengthen the State of Israel, which will be managed by experienced and united leadership.”

Other Yisrael Beiteinu officials also praised the vote.

“This evening, changing the system of government in Israel began,” Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said. “No more blackmail, no more divisiveness, no more instability.”

Yisrael Beiteinu MK Alex Miller said, “The joint list will permit intelligent leadership.”

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) said the merger would contribute to the full integration of immigrants from the former Soviet Union into Israeli society.

Labor Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich criticized the approval of the merger.

“Many Likud supporters are having difficulty identifying with this union,” Yachimovich said. “Netanyahu’s action was a political mistake.”

Aryeh Deri, one of the three political leaders of Shas, said the merger showed that “there is only one party in Israel that cares about reducing social gaps, and that is the Shas movement.”

The formation of the new party may also raise concern over negotiations with the Palestinians, of which Lieberman has been critical. However, Netanyahu’s advisors have quickly dismissed those reports.

“Netanyahu hopes that in his third term this will be possible,” the advisor said. “He is ready for a discussion of all the core issues with the Palestinians and is ready to engage with Abbas.”

Opposition Leader Shaul Mofaz of Kadima, who temporarily joined Netanyahu in a coalition last spring, was highly critical of the merger and suggested that Israel’s left and centrist parties join together.

“This is a wake-up call for the entire center to unite and put ego aside,” Mofaz said.

A poll conducted by a Lieberman campaign advisor suggests that the new party could gain 51 seats in the new election; currently both parties hold a combined 42 seats.

—This article first appeared in Israel Hayom and is distributed with the permission of that newspaper


1 Comment

  • How can Likud be a democratic party if “deeper issues concerning religion and state, the system of government and controversial legislation” will not be discussed for voters to weigh in on during the elections?

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Book Reviews Personalities Biography Sheds New Light on David Ben-Gurion’s Place in Jewish History

    Biography Sheds New Light on David Ben-Gurion’s Place in Jewish History

    JNS.org – There is one sentence in “Ben-Gurion: Father of Modern Israel” that made me sit up in surprise. I thought that I knew the basic facts about how Israel came into being, but while describing what it was like in the days and hours before the state was declared, author Anita Shapira provides one important anecdote I was not aware of. On the 12th of May, the Zionist Executive met to decide what to do. Moshe Sharrett had just returned [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    An actress starring in the controversial Met Opera The Death of Klinghoffer defended the show on Tuesday by comparing it to the 1993 Holocaust film Schindler’s List, New York Post reported. “To me, this was like [the movie] Schindler’s List. We make art so people won’t forget,’’ said the actress, who plays a captured passenger in the show and asked not to be identified. The Met Opera focuses on the infamous murder of Lower East Side Jewish resident Leon Klinghoffer, 69. The wheelchair-bound father of [...]

    Read more →
  • Analysis Arts and Culture Beyond ‘Klinghoffer’: Opera’s Composer, Librettist Have Broader Jewish Problem

    Beyond ‘Klinghoffer’: Opera’s Composer, Librettist Have Broader Jewish Problem

    JNS.org – One of the most controversial operas in recent memory, “The Death of Klinghoffer,” debuted Oct. 20 at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. The Met has scheduled seven more performances through November. The first staging did not occur without protest, as about 400 demonstrators—including Jewish communal and nationally recognized leaders—came to Lincoln Center to denounce the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel opera. “Klinghoffer,” the creation of composer John Adams and librettist Alice Goodman, premiered in 1991—with few additional stagings. The opera is based [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot is in negotiations to take on the female lead role in the remake of the 1959 classic Ben-Hur, according to The Hollywood Reporter. If the deal is finalized Gadot will play Esther, a slave and Ben-Hur’s love interest. Actor Jack Huston will star as the Jewish prince who is betrayed into slavery by his childhood friend Messala, played by Toby Kebbell. Ben-Hur fights for his freedom and vengeance with the help of Morgan Freeman’s character, who trains Ben-Hur how to win at chariot-racing. [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    JNS.org – Baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie are the American dream. So why do two young men who have built their lives in Israel have a GoFundMe crowd-funding webpage with the urgent message that they need $3,000 to travel to the U.S. to watch the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles square off for Major League Baseball’s (MLB) American League championship? Brothers Naftali and Yoni Schwartz, 27 and 25, respectively, are Kansas City natives. Even though they made aliyah with their [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Some 3,000 years ago, King David probably never imagined cars racing at 240 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour) through the ancient capital of the Jewish people. But on Monday and Tuesday, October 6-7, thousands of Israelis lined the streets to watch Porsche, Audi, and Ferrari race cars fly through the capital against the backdrop of the Tower of David, the Old City Walls, and other city landmarks. The second annual non-competitive Jerusalem Formula One Road Show had been [...]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James expressed interest in visiting Israel someday, local news site Cleveland.com reported on Sunday. Speaking to Israeli reporters before the Cleveland Cavaliers’ preseason debut against Maccabi Tel Aviv, the NBA star said he had never visited the Jewish state but “I want to look forward to going there if I get an opportunity to.” When asked by an Israeli reporter if there was “any chance that LeBron James and Cleveland comes to Tel Aviv,” the athlete said [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    A Florida-based Chabad rabbi put former basketball star, U.S. Congressman Curt Clawson to shame on the court when the two faced off one-on-one recently. A YouTube video, posted online on Tuesday, shows Rabbi Fishel Zaklos of Chabad of Naples shooting hoops with the Florida politician, who played basketball in high school and at Purdue University in Indiana. The game took place in the parking lot of the Chabad Jewish center run by Zaklos. During the 1-minute clip, Zaklos scores two impressive [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.