Likud candidates sign oath of loyalty to Netanyahu

Top 40 candidates on Likud's Knesset list sign loyalty oath vowing to back Netanyahu - and only Netanyahu - for PM, even over other Likud MK

Hezki Baruch ,

Netanyahu and his wife with Likud MKs
Netanyahu and his wife with Likud MKs
Likud spokesperson

All of the Likud’s likely Knesset delegation in the 22nd Knesset have signed a loyalty oath, vowing to back Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – and only Binyamin Netanyahu – for an additional term as premier.

Every candidate on the Likud list from number two (Netanyahu himself occupies the first spot) down through number 40 signed the oath, which was drawn up by Likud MK and former coalition chairman David Bitan. The Likud is currently polling at between 28 to 32 seats.

The oath, which is intended to block attempts by the center-left Blue and White party, or the secular rightist Yisrael Beytenu faction, to force the Likud to nominate a candidate other than Binyamin Netanyahu to lead the next government.

Recent polls show the right-wing – religious bloc unable to form a narrow rightist coalition government without Yisrael Beytenu.

But Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avidgor Liberman has vowed to oppose any effort to form a narrow coalition, adding that his party will only support a national unity government which brings together the Likud and Blue and White – and excludes the haredi parties, along with the Jewish Home and National Union factions of the United Right.

Following the elections for the 21st Knesset in April, the Blue and White party said it would not consider forming a unity government led by Netanyahu.

Recently, Liberman suggested that should Blue and White again refuse to back a unity government with Netanyahu, the Likud might be forced to choose a different candidate to lead the new government.

In the loyalty oath signed by the Likud candidates, the party castigated Blue and White leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid, calling their party’s lack of primaries “dictatorial”.

“Gantz and Lapid, who lead a dictatorial party, and who chose themselves and their list of Knesset cancidates – they are the last people who have the right to lecture the Likud, the largest and strongest democratic party in Israel.”

“Lapid and Gantz, who are constantly working against each other, and the Labor party, which changes its leader every two weeks, can only envy members of the Likud, who stand united behind our party chairman. Their disappointment is obvious. The bid to replace Netanyahu after the [next] election came crashing down today.”