MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) said on Monday that the possibility that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will choose to leave the Likud and form a joint list with Shaul Mofaz, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and other ministers such as Dan Meridor and Michael Eitan, “is more than likely”.
Speaking with Arutz Sheva, Hotovely said she believes that such a decision by Netanyahu, similar to what former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon did when he split the Likud and formed Kadima, will ultimately lead him to where Kadima is today. While Kadima is the largest party in the Knesset at the present time, polls have indicated that it is headed for a downfall in the next elections.
Likud members have recently expressed concerns that Netanyahu is planning such a move, particularly in light of his opposing the proposed outpost regulation law, which many of the Likud’s Knesset members and ministers support.
“Anyone who wants to choose such a path will be judged by history,” said Hotovely. “Our job is to present leadership which tells the truth and is true to the Likud’s way. The possibility [that Netanyahu will split the Likud] is quite possible, but it has a price. The question is whether Netanyahu is thinking only about the next Knesset or whether he wants long-term leadership.”
Hotovely said that Netanyahu is directly responsible for the planned demolition in the Ulpana neighborhood of Beit El, not Barak or any other officials in the justice system.
“I have enough appreciation for the Prime Minister to hold him responsible for the decision,” she said, adding, “This decision is destructive to the settlement enterprise. It's not a matter of five houses, but the opening of something very dangerous.”
Hotovely said the regulation law, which is scheduled to be brought to a vote in the Knesset on Wednesday, is the most moral law possible, because it compensates a landowner who can prove his ownership. At the same time, she said, the decision to expel the thirty families who live in the Ulpana neighborhood is the least moral decision that can be made.
She noted that social pressure affects the Likud ministers more than anything else and, as such, if the ministers from the Yisrael Beytenu and Shas parties announce that they intend to support the regulation law, it would encourage Likud ministers to the same.
“A minister should know whether he supports the law or not, regardless of pressure by Feiglin or someone else,” said Hotovely. “This is a moral issue.”
Earlier on Monday, Netanyahu pleaded with Likud faction members to back his plan and vote against the regulation law proposed by MK Yaakov Katz (National Union).
Netanyahu has proposed that the five buildings facing demolition be destroyed, but that fifty new structures be approved on adjacent state owned land.
Under the plan, the government would also pay to move the five buildings slated to be destroyed – which would cost the state an estimated NIS 14m.
Netanyahu's statements seem to indicate he intends to renege on a promise made to Katz, that he would not oppose the regulation law when it was brought to a vote, if Katz would hold off in submitting the bill for a fortnight.
Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein on Monday approved Netanyahu's outline for the Ulpana neighborhood.