Netanyahu makes formal push to move up Likud primaries

In letter to Likud member, PM stresses need for 'stability,' urges members to advance primaries and help 'protect Israel.'

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Cynthia Blank,

Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin Netanyahu
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Despite some vocal opposition from within the Likud party, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has begun a formal push to move up the Likud primaries to sometime in February. 

In a letter sent to the Likud electorate on Wednesday, Netanyahu urged party members to vote next Tuesday in favor of his proposal to hold primaries within the next two months. 

"A consolidation of lines is an essential step in order to continue fending off international pressure," the Prime Minister penned. "It is the only way to protect the land of Israel, to fight terror with determination, to advance the Israeli economy and fulfill our social goals." 

"Completing the internal processes of electing a leader for the movement and the Likud Central Committee will broadcast stability, which will immediately shed light on the stability and cohesion of the coalition."

"We must be prepared for any scenario," Netanyahu wrote, perhaps in fear of the opposition's assertions the government could collapse at any moment. "We must avoid picking sides, in order to continue leading this country in our shared way with full force. I need your support."

Initial reports broke Saturday that Netanyahu was trying to advance primaries. Speculation remains rampant that the move is an attempt to stop popular former minister Gideon Sa’ar from running against him for the Likud leadership.

Sa‘ar responded to the reports Saturday and wrote on his Twitter account, "I find it hard to believe that in the middle of the wave of terrorism and on the day it hit Ra'anana - that the Prime Minister is engaged in petty politics."

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, likewise asserted, "it's not time for political moves that might make it more difficult and lead to political instability in Israel." 

In the days since then, though, Netanyahu has garnered the support of Culture Minister Miri Regev, Science Minister Ofir Akunis and Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely. 








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