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Likud Party Dispute Could End Deal With Yisrael Beyteinu

The deal that has kept the Likud and Yisrael Beyteinu together since the last election may be coming to an end, Yisrael Hayom reports.
By David Lev
First Publish: 2/27/2014, 8:20 AM

Liberman and Netanyahu at a faction meeting earlier this year
Liberman and Netanyahu at a faction meeting earlier this year
Flash 90

The deal that has kept the Likud and Yisrael Beyteinu together since the last election may be coming to an end, Yisrael Hayom reported Thursday. The deal, which was formed before the 2013 elections, unified the election lists for the parties led respectively by Binyamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Liberman, with a formula assigning positions to candidates from both parties on the list.

The combined list netted 31 Knesset seats for both parties combined, fewer than had been expected by many analysts.

The agreement between the two parties was to extend for two years, after which it was to be reconsidered. That deadline is approaching, and Netanyahu, who has been satisfied with the arrangement, has been seeking to fully integrate Yisrael Beyteinu with the Likud. However, the idea is opposed by many on the Likud Central Committee.

On Wednesday, Netanyahu met with Central Committee leaders on the schedule of events for the upcoming Central Committee meeting, set for next month.

Danon and the Central Committee have been seeking to wrest from Netanyahu the right to call a Central Committee meeting when a majority of Committee members voted to, as opposed to the current situation, in which Netanyahu is the sole person authorized to make that decision. The High Court recently decided that the Committee could bring the matter of who is authorized to call a meeting to a vote, a move opposed by Netanyahu.

Changing that rule would entail amending the Likud's constitution, and Netanyahu is said to fear that the constitution could be changed in other ways that would remove even more responsibilities from the head of the party. On Wednesday, Yisrael Hayom reported, Netanyahu proposed to Danon a compromise, in which he would give up his authority to decide on recertifying the joint list with Yisrael Beyteinu, in exchange for remaining the the sole Likud member empowered to call a Committee meeting.

In addition, Netanyahu has agreed to a long-standing demand by Central Committee chairman MK Danny Danon for an in-depth discuss the Likud's positions on the negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.

If Netanyahu's proposal is accepted, the report said, unifying the lists again would require 60% of the Central Committee members – considered an impossibility by political insiders. As a result, it's unlikely the two parties will run on a joint list again, Yisrael Hayom reported.