Netanyahu Feared Feiglin, Sources Say

The embarrassment he suffered in Likud conference pushed Netanyahu to rethink early elections.

Gil Ronen ,

Moshe Feiglin
Moshe Feiglin
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The embarrassment he suffered in Sunday's hectic Likud conference pushed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to rethink early elections, political sources have told Arutz Sheva. Netanyahu failed to convince the assembly to conduct an open vote on the personal makeup of key positions that would have enabled him to control the conference. Feiglin supporters were prominent among conference members who vocally demanded a secret ballot, until Netanyahu gave in.

The sources said that Netanyahu's unpleasant experience caused him to fear a strengthening of Moshe Feiglin's National Leadership camp in Likud, and its ramifications for the Likud, if the party enters primary season ahead of a new election.

Netanyahu did not expect to experience a defeat inside his Likud bastion immediately upon rising from the Shiva mourning period over his father, the sources added. The initiative for unity came from both Netanyahu and Mofaz, they revealed, with former Prime Minister's Bureau chief Natan Eshel and Mofaz adviser Lior Horev running things behind the scenes.  

Feiglin reacted to the announcement of the unity government on his Facebook page Tuesday, saying: "Elections are not a good thing and I commend Netanyahu for his move." Regarding the ramifications for the Ulpana neighborhood, he said: "Netanyahu can easily legalize the matter of the Ulpana together with Mofaz, thus safeguarding the Likud's continued rule in the future."