Hawkish right-wingers made a strong showing in the Likud primaries this week as the party chose the candidates that will run for the Knesset in next February’s general elections.
Moshe Feiglin, head of a right-wing faction of the Likud, landed 20th spot on the Likud’s list, despite efforts by the party’s chairman, former prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, to keep him off the list.
According to the latest polls, Likud is expected to win 34 seats, out of which nine would be filled by candidates affiliated with Mr Feiglin.
Earlier this year, the UK’s Home Office banned Mr Feiglin from entering the country on the grounds that his presence “would not be conducive to the public good”.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned that the Likud Party, with members like Mr Feiglin, would turn Israel into a diplomatic outcast around the world.
“The Likud was a right-wing party and it remains a right-wing party that will lead Israel into a lonely corner and to the difficult days that we have strived to get out of,” Mr Olmert said.
In response to the criticism, the Likud claimed that its list consisted of a wide range of personalities that represented all facets of Israeli society. It also deflected criticism that as a right-wing party it would lead Israel to disaster.
“People understand that the Kadima and Labour parties have led Israel into corners that are extremely difficult to get out of, both in northern and southern Israel,” Mr Begin said. “The average person makes a distinction between those who misled the public in Kadima and Labour and those in the Likud who warned from the outset that these adventures would lead to a disaster.” Former IDF chief of staff Moshe Bogie Ya’alon won the 8th spot on the list; former justice minister Dan Meridor came in 17th, and Benny Begin, son of former Likud premier Menahem Begin, came in fifth place.