The Likud party had a run-off for their party list for the general election coming up February 10, 2009. Here’s the complete list with details on the top 10. The lot of them are woven around Netanyahu in intimate ways. Whoever the next PM is, s/he will likely be forced to evacuate/disengage from at least a portion of the West Bank in the near future (i.e., 2-3 years), and yet, I would imagine a majority (if not all) of this list opposed the disengagement from Gaza and would oppose the same from any of the West Bank. Considering Bibi’s track-record on “disengaging,” he does it from both sides–he disengages from territory and negotiations, amazing. Many remember that just over ten years ago he promptly withdrew from most of Hebron and played around at Wye to his party’s dismay only to turn his back on nearly everything he agreed to. I do not know how many seats Likud might get–I could see anywhere from 10-25 (to use an extreme range).
Whether Netanyahu becomes the next PM or not, the Likud is stacked with a hardline group, and some big names too, even way down the list. For those hoping for the occupation to continue and for the conflict to intensify, this is your group of polticians. This will be your “we have no partner,” nonsense of Barak and Sharon. It will be VERY interesting to see how Bibi would respond to pressure from Obama, would he cave as he did under Clinton? (then again, everyone melted in Clinton’s hands)
This February will be an interesting time in Israel.
click below for my more info on the potential MKs
1.) Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud Chairman)
Ahhh, Bibi. The man needs little introduction to those familiar with the last 30 years of Israeli politics–Ambassador to the UN ’84-’88, MK ’88-’93, Likud chairman ’93-’96, PM ’96-’99, FM ’02-’03, Finance Min. ’03-’05, Opposition leader ’05-current. wow, try saying that in one breath. While the Netanyahu name has been ‘household’ in Zionist homes worldwide, Bibi made his first real mark on the world (outside of his brother’s letters) in 1997 negotiating the Wye River Accords. Palestinians and Muslims remember him well for working with Ehud Olmert to open the Western Wall tunnel. Shimon Peres might remember him as the man who took any real substance of a political life away. Arik Sharon surely remembers him from when Bibi walked out on him over the disengagement from Gaza.
Netanyahu was brought up in the states,schooled at MIT (two degrees, architecture and management), served at the embassy in D.C. and at some point was thoroughly steeped in American economics and politics. As Finance Minister his policies amounted to a drastic overhaul, quick too, of the Israeli economic system molding it closer to the semi-regulated free-trade model embraced by the US, UK and EU. Israel had a near ‘Clintonesque’ era, financially, with Bibi’s policies, and the results mirrored those of the US. While the middle-class expanded its wealth, quickly, the rate of the very wealthy (top 2% wealthy) increased rapidly, and as happens in capitalist systems as the very wealthy increase their wealth, the moderately poor become very poor, and the very poor, well, you know how it goes. While the GDP may have shot up during his tenure, so did the economic gap, second only to the US. It was pretty well publicized in the media and blogosphere that he may well have hired Karl Rove to run his next campaign–I presume (and hope) that Israelis won’t be as foolish as Americans to settle for less than they (and their neighbors) deserve.
2.) Gideon Sa’ar (head of Likud faction in the Knesset)
Sa’ar got his law degree at Tel Aviv Univ., has been in politics since 1999 and has been an MK since ’03. He did not support the disengagement from Gaza. And get this, he proposed a bill to ban cosmetic testing on animals. Neat.
3.) Gilad Erdan
I totally remember this guy. Erdan has been an MK since ’03, previously served as an aide to Netanyahu. He supports deepening ties with Evangelical Christians and he is the same MK who proposed the bill which would revoke Israeli citizenship based on ‘disloyalty.’ Needless to say, he was against the disengagement.
4.) Reuven Rivlin
Rivlin first served as MK in ’88, after a brief absence he returned in ’96 and has served since. From ’03-’06 he was Speaker of the Knesset. Rivlin voted against the disengagement.
5.) Benny Begin
Ze’ev Binyamin Begin is the son of Menachem Begin, who was PM ’77-’83. Benny Begin was elected to Knesset in ’88, served until ’93 when he lost to Bibi for party chair. He resigned in ’97 from Netanyahu’s gov’t over the redeployment from Hebron. Begin tried to resurrect his father’s Herut party (which I believe, but don’t know for sure, that Rivlin was very active in), and when that failed he left politics and went back to geology (which is his training). He now returns. I think it’s fair to say that were Benny Begin to have served in ’05, he would have voted against the disengagement from Gaza.
6.) Moshe Kahlon
I don’t know much about this guy, he jumped on the scene in ’03, and out of nowhere shot up to near the top of the list in ’06, and now he’s still up there. He… you guessed it, voted against the disengagement.
7.) Silvan Shalom
I only know of Mr. Shalom for one reason, he’s a Sephardi Jew who made aliyah in the 50s (if you don’t know the story of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews who made aliyah in the 50s, look into it, it’s a sad and painful story that we all need to know about and understand) which is remarkable that he has been an MK, I think, since the ’90s in a party dominated by Ashkenazim. When Labor left Sharon’s gov’t in ’03 and Netanyahu was shuffled to Finanace Minister, Silvan Shalom took over as Foreign Minister. And tally another one against the disengagement from Gaza.
8.) Moshe Ya’alon
“Bogie” Ya’alon is was a career soldier, rising to Chief of Staff under Sharon in ’02. He attempted to clean up the mess of the Intifada. Ya’alon has at least been sued and had an international warrant put out for his arrest for his involvement in the famed shelling in Qana and a few years ago he was nearly charged with war crimes in New Zealand. Ya’alon ended his military service after almost four decades less than one week before the disengagement. He, too, opposed it.
9.) Yuval Steinitz
This guy went from “Peace Now” activist, literally, to hardline hawk. He’s been an MK since ’99 when he took the seat the Netanyahu stepped away from after dismal results. Steinitz voted against the disengagement
10.) Leah Ness
Ness became MK in ’03 when Likud jumped to nearly 40 seats, and then lost her seat in ’06 when they shrunk to less than 15. Needless to say, we’ll see her in the next Knesset, and needless to say, opposed the disengagement.
11.) Yisrael Katz
12.) Yuli Edelstein
13.) Limor Livnat
14.) Haim Katz
15.) Yossi Peled
16.) Michael Eitan
17.) Dan Meridor
18.) Tzipi Hotobli
19.) Gila Gamliel
20.) Moshe Feiglin
21.) Ze’ev Elkin
22.) Yariv Levin
23.) Tzion Fanion
24.) Michael Ratzon
25.) Ayov Kara
26.) Dani Danon
27.) Carmel Sha’ama
28.) Ophir Ekonis
29.) Ehud Yatom
30.) Elali Edmaso
31.) Yitzhak Danino
32.) David Abu-Tzor
33.) Kati Sheetrit
34.) Miri Regev
35.) Sagiv Asulin
36.) Boaz Hatzani
37.) Guy Yifrach
38.) Asaf Hefetz
39.) Yehiel Leiter
40.) Keren Barak
41.) Daniel Benlolo
42.) Uzi Dayan