Most Likud­niks think Ne­tanyahu should not quit even if in­dicted

The Jerusalem Post - - FRONT PAGE - • By LA­HAV HARKOV

Nearly 70% of at­ten­dees at the Leu­mi­ada, a re­treat for Likud mem­bers held in Eilat this week­end, think that Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu should stay in of­fice even if he is charged with cor­rup­tion.

A poll at the event, which drew about 3,000 peo­ple, found that 69.4% thought Ne­tanyahu should not re­sign; 11.2% sup­ported a ref­er­en­dum; and 9.9% said he should re­sign.

Asked if the New Right Party, led by Education Min­is­ter Naf­tali Ben­nett and Jus­tice Min­is­ter Ayelet Shaked, should merge with the Likud list, 44.2% said no, they don’t be­long in the Likud. Nearly a fourth (23%) said yes, be­cause votes should not be wasted; 17.3% said only Shaked should be al­lowed on the list; and 1.9% said only Ben­nett.

Un­like in the pre­vi­ous three years, the Leu­mi­ada, for­merly known as the Liku­di­ada, did not fea­ture a mock pri­mary. The ac­tual Likud pri­mary is sched­uled for Fe­bru­ary 5, and it’s likely that the or­ga­niz­ers of this week­end’s event – Likud ac­tivists and for­mer staffers who are said to make a lot of money from it – did not want to di­min­ish their in­flu­ence by hav­ing their re­sults con­trasted with the real thing.

In­stead, at­ten­dees were asked to choose their fa­vorite MKs and min­is­ters.

Most of the Likud’s current

list ranked among the fa­vorites, but MKs Ye­hu­dah Glick, Yaron Mazuz and Os­nat Mark were left out, along with Jerusalem Af­fairs Min­is­ter Ze’ev Elkin, Wel­fare Min­is­ter Haim Katz and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Min­is­ter Ay­oub Kara.

Two fig­ures who were not in the Likud ranked among Leu­mi­ada fa­vorites: MK Orly Levy-Abe­cas­sis, who re­cently founded the Gesher Party, and Econ­omy Min­is­ter Eli Co­hen of Ku­lanu.

The regional seats on the Likud list were also polled, and Gi­lad Sharon, son of for­mer prime min­is­ter Ariel Sharon, won the Negev spot – even though Ne­tanyahu would not sign the waiver that would al­low him to run de­spite not hav­ing been a Likud mem­ber long enough.

When news of Sharon’s likely dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion came out, Ne­tanyahu’s of­fice said he had made an agree­ment with Trans­porta­tion Min­is­ter Is­rael Katz, chairman of the Likud’s sec­re­tariat, not to waive any­one’s wait­ing pe­riod, other than that of Im­mi­gra­tion Ab­sorp­tion Min­is­ter Yoav Gal­lant, who just moved from Ku­lanu to the Likud last

week. •


LIKUD MEM­BERS scan the posters of party can­di­dates at the an­nual Leu­mi­ada in Eilat on Thurs­day.

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