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Feiglin Wins Almost Certain MK Slot in Likud Primaries

Moshe Feiglin won a big victory in the Likud primaries. Nationalist and religious candidates won top spots. Kadima called the party "extremist."
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 12/9/2008, 2:40 AM

Nearly 50,000 Likud party members gave the camp of Jewish Leadership faction leader Moshe Feiglin a big victory in the Likud primaries Monday, when Feiglin placed in the top 20, all but guaranteeing him a seat in the next Knesset.



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Feiglin was voted into the 20th spot on the Knesset candidate list, which was topped by party caucus chairman Gidon Saar.  The voting had been extended until 1 a.m. due to a computer communications cable break Monday morning and long lines the rest of the day.

Knesset Member Gilad Erdan won second place, followed by MK Reuven Rivlin, and Benny Begin, son of forrmer Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Next in line were MK Moshe Kahlon, MK Silvan Shalom, and former IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Yaalon.

All of the rankings will be pushed back by one in order to place party chairman Binyamin Netanyahu in the first spot. Among U.S. immigrants, Shomron resident Yechiel Leiter barely made it into the top 40, former basketball star Tal Brody did not win a realistic slot, and Atty. Yossi Fuchs lost to Feiglin-backed Boaz HaEztni in the Judea and Samaria slot. Pre-election polls show that Likud will win approximately 35 seats.

MK Yuval Steinitz won the ninth place, and former Likud MK Dr. Leah Ness was voted into the 10th spot, which was reserved for a current or former woman MK. She is followed by MKs Yisrael Katz, Yuli Edelstein and Limor Livnat.

Dan Meridor and MK Michael Eitan also were placed in the top 20, but one of chairman Bibi Netanyahu's favorites, former police chief Asaf Hefetz, did not win a spot in the top 35 places, leaving in doubt the possibility of his gaining a seat in the next Knesset.

The complete line-up of the first 40 Likud candidates for parliament is as follows:

1. Binyamin Netanyahu
2. Gideon Saar
3. Gilad Erdan
4. Reuven Rivlin
5. Benny Begin
6. Moshe Kahlon
7. Silvan Shalom
8. Moshe Yaalon
9. Yuval Shteinitz
10. Leah Ness
11. Yisrael Katz
12. Yuli Edelshtein
13. Limor Livnat
14. Chaim Katz
15. Yossi Peled
16. Michael Eitan
17. Dan Meridor
18. Tzipi Hotobeli
19. Gila Gamliel
20. Moshe Feiglin
21. Zev Elkin
22. Yariv Levin
23. Tzion Finian
24. Mickey Ratzon
25. Ayoub Kara
26. Danny Danon
27. Carmel Shama
28. Ofir Akunis
29. Ehud Yatom
30. Hilleli Adbosi
31. Yitzchak Danino
32. David Even-Tzur
33. Kati Sheetrit
34. Miri Regev
35. Sagiv Asulin
36. Boaz HaEtzni
37. Guy Yifrah
38. Assaf Hefetz
39. Yechiel Leiter
40. Keren Barak

Most of the attention was focused on Jewish Leadership faction leader Moshe Feiglin, whose presence in the party - let alone a realistic slot on the party's Knesset candidate list - Netanyahu bitterly opposed.

Out of the top 30 candidates listed above, 15 were on Feiglin's recommended voting list. They are spots 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 18, 19, 20, 22, 24, 25, 26, and 29 above.

The placement of several religious and nationalist candidates in the top 20 spots represents a change in the character of the Likud and explains a drop in the polls for the new Jewish Home religious-Zionist party. The Kadima and Labor parties are expected to use the new Likud candidate list as ammunition to paint the Likud as a nationalist and religious faction that would stymie chances for an agreement with the Palestinian Authority if placed in power.

Following the announcement of the results of the Likud primaries, a Kadima spokesman called the Likud, which is leading in pre-election polls, a "prisoner of the extreme Right… that will try to come to power and implement its extremist policies."  Political analysts said that Kadima was stabbing in the dark, however, and that this characterization could barely be justified.

All Monday night until after 4:00 a.m., thousands of Likud members waited anxiously in the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds complex for the final results. Jewish Leadership faction activist Dovid Shirel said that the crowds began singing songs including "We have no one to rely upon except for our Father in heaven." "I was moved to tears," says Shirel, "and I realized that this is my party - the party of the Jewish nation."

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