The Jerusalem Post

Likud membership drive could choose Netanyahu successor


Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party initiated a one-month membership drive on Wednesday that could be instrument­al in deciding the party’s next leader.

According to Likud bylaws, members have to pay the monthly NIS 64 membership dues by standing order in the bank for 16 months in order to be able to vote in party primaries.

The next Likud leadership race could end up being held after that. MKs who see themselves as future Likud leadership contenders intend to sign up thousands of members. MK Nir Barkat, for instance, has already been signing up members en masse at the very large political rallies he has sponsored.

In a video posted on the Likud’s social media accounts, Netanyahu called upon people to join the party in the drive, which is the first the party has held in nearly ten years.

“This is an opportunit­y to have an impact on your lives and on our country,” Netanyahu said. “You will be able to select our MKs, vote for the issues that matter to you and decide who will lead the party and the country in the future.”

The drive is also intended to help the Likud pay massive debts accrued during four Knesset elections over the past two and a half years and the October 2018 municipal races before that and to be able to fund a campaign for the next Knesset race, whenever it will take place.

In what appeared to be a similar effort, the economic newspaper Globes reported on Wednesday that the New Hope Party was

actively working to lower the 3.25% electoral threshold ahead of the next election. The report said that New Hope minister Ze’ev

Elkin supported a bill by United Torah Judaism MK Israel Eichler to lower the threshold to 1.5%, which could help New Hope enter the next Knesset.

But Elkin said the report was “very inaccurate” and a New Hope spokesman said party leader Gideon Sa’ar was not working to draft support for the move.

“There has been no decision by New Hope to back [lowering the threshold],” the spokesman said. “This is a political decision that must be made together by the heads of the parties in the coalition.”

The proceeding­s of the Knesset ended early on Wednesday, due to the observance of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha. The Blue and White faction will celebrate the Feast of the Sacrifice holiday together at the home of new MK Mofid Mari in the Druze village Hurfeish.

MKs who endured filibuster­s over the past three weeks expressed appreciati­on for Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy’s decision to limit the plenum to votes in agreement between the coalition and the opposition, which were few and far between.

A Jewish MK on his way out of the building following his easiest week in the Knesset ahead of a long weekend said: “I wish Eid al-Adha happened every week.”

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