Netanyahu wins primary after concessions

By Jennifer Lipman, February 1, 2012

Benjamin Netanyahu has overwhelmingly beaten his right-wing rival in the Likud Party primaries.

As expected, Moshe Feiglin, leader of the "Jewish Leadership" faction of Likud, picked up just a quarter of the votes. The Israeli Prime Minister now has a strong mandate from his party to go forward to the national elections, due by next year.

However Mr Netanyahu's victory came as his government approved housing subsidies for settlers, a move designed to attract support from hard-liners in the party.

Less than half of the 130,000 party members in Israel turned out to vote, and even that was a rise on the 2007 primaries.

Mr Netanyahu promised that Likud would "continue leading the country responsibly.

"We face great challenges that no other country in the world faces and I believe we will overcome them together in the way of the Likud," he said after his victory was announced.

Last updated: 10:43am, February 1 2012