Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu held a conference for Likud activists in Petah Tikva on Saturday night, ahead of the party’s primaries this coming Tuesday. The conference was attended by nearly a thousand members of the Likud.
As the conference was going on, residents of the Binyamin community of Migron and other nationalists demonstrated outside in protest of Netanyahu’s opposition to the law that would legalize some of the outposts and prevent the destruction of houses in Judea and Samaria.
The conference was held amid reports that Netanyahu is expected to inform Likud ministers on Sunday that any Likud minister who votes for the Outpost Law will be fired from government.
The bill, authored by Minister Zevulun Orlev (Jewish Home), would forbid eviction and demolition orders for Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria that have stood for four years and have at least twenty families.
Despite these reports, however, Netanyahu promised the conference attendee’s that he will work to protect the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria.
“The Likud is a movement with roots, with a legacy,” he said. “We will soon be marking twenty years since the death of one of the greatest leaders there have ever been in Israel - Menachem Begin. His legacy remains with us with his son, Benny Begin. No one can teach him about love of the country and the settlement enterprise, which enjoys the support and appreciation from the Likud government. We will continue to strengthen and protect Israel and we are ready for any challenge.”
He called on the activists to come out and vote on Tuesday and said, “The Likud Party is Israel's largest and strongest party, and therefore we need a strong result at the polls. I believe you will give me the backup with along our wonderful team and I look forward to seeing you at the polls on Tuesday. Come and vote to continue leading the country our way, the Likud way.”
The conference was attended by ministers, deputy ministers and Knesset members from Likud, including Yuval Steinitz, Gideon Saar, Yisrael Katz, Yossi Peled, Limor Livnat, Benny Begin, Gilad Erdan, Ayoub Kara, Leah Ness, Gila Gamliel, Ofir Akunis, Carmel Shama-Hacohen, Danny Danon and Tzipi Hotovely.
In Tuesday’s primaries, Netanyahu will be challenged for the party’s leadership by Moshe Feiglin, who heads the Likud’s Manhigut Yehudit (lit. Jewish leadership) faction.
Feiglin recently cited a favorable poll as evidence that his chances of seriously embarrassing Netanyahu are high, and that a victory by Netayahu is not a complete certainty.
In a poll conducted by polling company Ma’agar Mochot, about 26 percent of Likud members not affiliated with Feiglin's faction agreed that "it is important to vote for Moshe Feiglin in the upcoming primaries, even though it is clear that Binyamin Netanyahu will win, just so that the right wing inside Likud will gain strength."