October 30, 2012

In Mixed Reactions, Some Call Likud-Beitenu Move Brilliant, Some Warn of Losses

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the Likud (R) and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman of Yisrael Beitenu announced their two parties' joining forces ahead of the upcoming Israeli general elections.

On Saturday, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon (Yisrael Beitenu) said at an interview show that the union between Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu had come as no surprise to him, as it was clear that after the election the two parties would seek to establish a nationalist government together. "The leaders of the two parties, Avigdor Liberman and Benjamin Netanyahu, have done well to join together before the election," said Ayalon, adding that the move has clarified for the voters what is at stake: choosing between a large, experienced and cohesive block, representing the will of the Zionist majority—those who work, serve, and shoulder responsibilities—and splinter parties, some of them fashionable, with no experience or a proven leadership ability."

But over at the Likud, many appear unimpressed by their party leader's bold move, which is expected to be voted on at the Likud conference on Monday. Several Likud ministers are weighing a vote against the union. Minister of Improvement of Government Services Michael Eitan has so far been the most vociferous against the move, saying he fears that Likud would suffer from this rightward turn.

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