By: Tal Schneider, Noga Tarnopolsky
A few points to keep in mind as the Likud party hits the polls today. Party members are electing their candidate for prime minister and deciding the order– and thus the hierarchy– of the those who will represent them in the next Knesset.
- Ninety-six thousand party members have the right to vote; by 8 PM, forty-three percent had cast their ballots.
- Netanyahu will be the candidate for prime minister. Danny Dannon, his only opponent, is a low-level parliamentarian who was fired (by Netanyahu) from his job as Deputy Defense Minister during Operation Protective Edge.
- The main thing to watch out for is which of the Likud wannabes gets the most votes. To the extent that more extreme right-wing candidates, such as Moshe Feiglin or Miri Regev, become the new face of the party, the Likud will be in trouble in the general election. But the ship may be righted if Netanyahu’s camp succeeds in elevating candidates who are perceived to hold more moderate views, such as Yuval Steinitz or Tzachi HaNegbi.
- The Likud is in trouble, though not, as many foreign observers believe, due to Netanyahu’s overly aggressive comportment during the Gaza war. To the contrary, there are those in Israel who believe he was mealy-mouthed. The problems lie elsewhere: after six straight years in power, the Likud has failed to provide succor for Israelis suffering from a severe housing crisis and a growing income gap. These are the issues to watch for.
- The Likud is wracked by infighting, including open challenges to the Prime Minster by his own ministers, which has eroded Netanyahu’s public standing.
- The Likud’s campaign isn’t catching on, with lackluster feel to the Prime Minister statements, using the same old background map, at a video taken indoors when the PM rarely shown campaigning with the Israelis. For example, this went out yesterday in order to encourage Likudniks to get out to vote , basically almost saying: ‘we are just doing the stuff yet again’. Yawn.