The Likud is in trouble. People do not attach a public weight or an impact on the electorate to the departure of Limor Livnat, and at the immediate level it’s true. The Likud members weren’t in shock, and they will not cry and beg her to come back. But when she abandoned the sinking boat just before the primaries, she joined a trend: Kahlon two years ago, Gideon Saar few months ago, and now her.
The result of her previous primaries (27th on the joint list of HaLikud Beitenu) marked the direction. Has she decided to start working this week in order to be elected in the primaries, she’ll had to spend a lot of money and to meet with a lot of activists. After all that in light of the radicalization among Likud members she might find herself at the end of the list, where her chances to be elected to the next Knesset are low. For what? The polls for the Likud are unflattering, and some here in the Knesset predict that the public will punish the ruling party that might drop under 20 seats.
Knesset Members and Likud activists to whom I talked today at the Knesset underestimated Livnat’s act of abandonment. Maybe it’s another brick in the wall of a party that indeed has become detached from the Israelis.
Her departure at this stage is another bad sign to Prime Minister Netanyahu.
We must ask – where is Minister Silvan Shalom? He was either absent in each of the Likud faction meetings during the recent months or showed up late, only after the photographers left the room. It’s not that he fled the Knesset. He’s here, walking around the halls, meeting with people, and present in some of the votes.
Among Likud members, the say is that he rarely attends party’s members-meetings. Some activists even tell that his wife, Judy, is the one strengthening his relationship with the Likud registered voters. She goes to events and possibly even making the phone calls and stays in touch.
Where is Shalom? Livnat’s departure leaves him hanging in the air. After the presidential campaign, in which he wanted Netanyahu’s support and was disappointed when he didn’t get it, it seemed like he’s on his way out of the public life. Meanwhile, he’s still here. But he does not speak out publicly against Netanyahu.
I wonder – will he remain at the top of the Likud and will assist Netanyahu with all his heart during the campaign? Will Netanyahu push him forward to the cameras? To the press? And he will cooperate? Or maybe he’ll pout and grumble throughout the campaign? He’ll enter the Knesset one more time on Netanyahu’s back, but this time he’ll be waiting silently for the defeat to come.
The Likud has become detached. It was demonstrated in the faction meeting, when Netanyahu suddenly drew his proposal for zero-VAT (he did it earlier that morning at the Globes Business Conference). For years, he talks to the public, in the party meetings or at the end of the cabinet meetings, on Iran, Iran, Palestinians, Iran and more Iran.
He couldn’t be less bothered by the cost of living. Last May, Udi Segal interviewed him on Channel 2. During the interview, Netanyahu said (after Segal pressed the matter): “I’ll have to get into it personally because probably without stronger personal guidance there will be no solution.” Seven Months have passed since then and today, after half of his government is gone, and as a cynical act of elections, he finally remembered to get into it.
“We won’t charge VAT on basic products, to benefit the masses,” he said.
To benefit the masses! I was almost chocked when he arrogantly said “the masses.” I wanted to ask him, when was the last time that you met them, the masses?
For years, outgoing messages from the Prime Minister office, also published in his Facebook page, are considering only one issue- Iran. Sometimes he mentioned other issues, mainly terror and war (of course). But Netanyahu, who didn’t hold press conferences during those years, who escaped the media interviews for 411 consecutive days – hence was not asked on housing and the economy, and wasn’t criticized on those issues, and he didn’t had to show personal responsibility for Israel’s pressing economic problems.
Translated by: Noa Raz Zehavi
some of my writings regarding the Likud from the last couple of months: