Likud to Hold Party Primaries

Israel’s Likud party will hold its primaries today. The party was set to hold a leadership primary but Yuli Edelstein—who

Likud to Hold Party Primaries

Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech | Photo: The Times of Israel

Israel’s Likud party will hold its primaries today.

The party was set to hold a leadership primary but Yuli Edelstein—who was running to replace Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu—backed out. Netanyahu was granted the right to appoint alternative candidates to the election. Some of the positions are expected to go to those who have turned away from the right-wing Yamina party, including Amichai Chikli, Idit Silman and Nir Orbach.

The party’s primary race has been marked by controversies including backlash against comments made by Likud Member of the Knesset Miri Regev—who supported the suspension of Netanyahu’s corruption trial ahead of the election period—and a widely shared social media post where Likud activist Michael Ben Shushan called for the execution of senior prosecutors in the State Attorney Office. Netanyahu, recognizing the negative effects of recent scandals, called for elections to be carried out as quickly as possible.

Netanyahu and Likud seek to attract voters who have been disappointed by Naftali Bennet and normally would vote for the Yamina party. In the medium-term, Netanyahu’s primary campaign goal is to secure the election with an absolute majority of 61 seats by appointing moderate candidates to quell backlash from incendiary comments made by hardline Likud members.